Dynegy Inc. (DYN) posted a first-quarter loss on Monday, reversing a year-ago profit, due to hefty charges associated with settlement of shareholder litigation.

Separately, the company also said it is evaluating strategic options for its Midstream natural gas business.

Quarterly losses after paying $5 million of preferred dividends totaled $267 million, or 70 cents per share, compared with earnings of $65 million, or 14 cents per share, a year ago.

The latest quarter includes a $156 million settlement of the company's class action lawsuit.

Revenue fell to $1.5 billion from $1.66 billion last year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for operating losses of 12 cents per share in the latest quarter.

Looking ahead, Dynegy (search) narrowed 2005 guidance, now estimating that full-year losses from its core businesses will range between $130 million and $145 million, compared with prior loss estimates of $183 million to $199 million.

This improvement of about $54 million is primarily based on better results from the company's core energy businesses, which are benefiting from overall boosts in power and commodity prices.

In addition, Dynegy said it has retained Credit Suisse First Boston to evaluate alternatives for its Midstream natural gas business.

"We believe that the market interest that currently exists in midstream energy assets, coupled with high cyclical commodity prices, have created a unique environment that should provide strong value for our Midstream business and for the company," said Bruce A. Williamson, chairman, president and CEO.

Dynegy shares rose 8 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $3.85 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, still near the low end of a 52-week range of $3.21 to $6.09.