With power prices down over last year in much of the U.S., all eyes will be on the second quarter results of power and utilities companies over the next few weeks.
"All things equal, we expect to see Q2 numbers down relative to last year due to lower power prices, but the impact is limited given generators' robust hedging programs," Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. wrote in a Tuesday note.
The firm expects important updates from Dynegy (DYN) and PPL (PPL - Get Report) in particular. Several short term catalysts that could move up Dynegy's stock, including announcing updated synergies from its purchase of power plants from French utility Engie earlier this year and an update on its troubled IPH unit (it reports earnings Aug. 3 with a conference call to follow on Aug. 4). And the focus on PPL's call on Aug. 9 will be on everything Brexit, including its impacts on its U.K. operations and long-term earnings growth rate.
The firm thinks NRG Energy (NRG - Get Report) (not yet scheduled) and CenterPoint Energy (CNP - Get Report) (Aug. 5) are likely to defer updates on potential catalysts, with NRG management not addressing its strategy for competitive power generator GenOn until early 2017 even though investors were hoping for a mid-2016 update (it will instead continue to focus on deleveraging). CenterPoint isn't expect to reveal anything material on the potential sale of its stake in oil and gas pipeline operator Enable Midstream (ENBL - Get Report) and spinoff of its utility business into a real estate investment trust, or REIT (the delay of which could be negative, TPH said).
There should be a focus on utilities' nuclear operations, with Public Service Enterprise Group's (PEG - Get Report) Salem 1 plant remaining down indefinitely, which raises questions on the earnings impact, and other unplanned outages coming from Entergy's (ETR - Get Report) Indian Point 2 in New York and Grand Gulf 1 in Mississippi, Talen Energy's (TLN) Susquehanna 2 in PA and Dominion Resources' (D - Get Report) Millstone 3 in Connecticut, TPH said. Investors are also looking to dive deeper into the conditions surrounding Exelon's (EXC - Get Report) and Entergy's (ETR - Get Report) FitzPatrick transaction, the analysts said.
Jay Rhame, a portfolio manager at Reaves Asset Management, said NextEra Energy's (NEE - Get Report) conference call (set for July 27) is on the top of his list given its rumored bidding on Oncor, the delivery business of bankrupt Energy Future Holdings, as well as its big rate case in Florida and how its wind business is doing. "It has always been our view that NextEra was the front runner for Oncor," he says. "It's biggest prize out there and coming out of bankruptcy, it's more affordable than any publicly traded utility."
Rhame also thinks it would be interesting to see how Sempra Energy's (SRE - Get Report) liquefied natural gas project is faring (and whether it makes sense to continue building export facilities) as well as its pipelines in Mexico given the U.S. political environment. Finally, DTE Energy (DTE - Get Report) is trying to build a pipeline to carry natural gas from Appalachia's Marcellus Shale to Chicago and Michigan, so it will be interesting to get a bead on how that business is doing, he says.