Exelon Raises '05 Forecast, '06 Disappoints

U.S. power company Exelon Corp. (EXC) raised its 2005 earnings outlook on Friday on higher generation margins and load growth at its utility units but forecast 2006 earnings below the average Wall Street estimate.

The company's shares were down more than 2 percent in early Friday trading.

Exelon, which is poised to become one of the largest U.S. utilities upon completion of its proposed acquisition of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (PEG), said it expects 2005 earnings per share of $3.05 to $3.20, or $3 to $3.15 excluding one-time items. Analysts polled by Reuters Estimates had expected earnings of $3.09 a share.

The company had previously forecast operating earnings per share between $2.90 and $3.10 for 2005.

For 2006, the Chicago-based company forecast earnings per share of $3 to $3.30 excluding one-time items, below analysts' average forecast of $3.33 a share.

Exelon's forecasts are for the company on a stand-alone basis. It has said it expects to complete its purchase of PSEG in the first quarter or early in the second quarter of 2006.

Exelon shares were down $1.42, or 2.6 percent, to $52.55 on the New York Stock Exchange (search) on Friday after hitting an all-time high of $54.88 earlier this week.