Northeast Utilities Loss Narrows

But earnings fall short of the analysts' estimate.
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Northeast Utilities

(NU)

, a retail electric service provider, said its first-quarter loss narrowed from the year-ago period.

The Berlin, Conn.-based company lost $10.1 million, or 7 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with a loss of $117.7 million, or 91 cents a share, a year ago. Its first-quarter loss from continuing operation was 13 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 35 cents a share in the most recent quarter.

First-quarter operating revenue fell 3.8% from the year-ago period to $2.1 billion. Analysts were expecting revenue of $1.5 billion.

The company expects combined earnings of $1.09 to $1.22 a share in the year 2006 for its regulated businesses and parent company. Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.14 a share in 2006.

''NU was pleased with the financial results of its regulated businesses in the first quarter and very encouraged by the progress the company has made in 2006 on its regulated investments and exit from its competitive energy businesses,'' the company said.

The company swung to first-quarter operating income of $7.4 million, compared with the operating loss of $126.2 million, a year ago.

The investors stock closed up 18 cents at $20.26 Thursday.

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