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PPL Corporation (PPL), Exelon Corporation (EXC): Soar Or Stumble?

The last of the first-quarter earnings have hit investors’ inboxes, turning shareholders’ portfolios topsy-turvy. Let’s look at the latest influx to see if your dividend stocks are about to soar — or sink.

PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL)
PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL) reported earnings May 2, missing on sales expectations but managing to squeak past earnings estimates. Top lines have been tumbling across the sector, and PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL)’s bottom line took a major hit when trimmed hedged wholesale power prices pushed its unregulated earnings down more than 50%.
Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC)

With natural gas’ recent price increase, bad hedges proved a common theme for unsuspecting utilities. Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC) took a one-time $235 million hit, but Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC)’s and PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL)’s nuclear fleets will ultimately benefit from more expensive gas.

Ameren Corp (NYSE:AEE)
Ameren Corp (NYSE:AEE) also reported earnings May 2, missing on both top- and bottom-line results. But the utility is nearing the finish line of a massive business overhaul, and number crunching takes a back seat to strategy as Ameren Corp (NYSE:AEE) exits the competitive business and heads into regulatory waters.

With a successful $900 million asset sale to Dynegy Inc. (NYSE:DYN) in March, Ameren Corp (NYSE:AEE) has three leftover gas-fired energy centers it still needs to offload.

Its regulated division recently celebrated wins in its Missouri and Illinois transmission services, which should help to keep this dividend stock’s 4.4% yield sustainable for the foreseeable future.

Atlantic Power Corp (NYSE:AT)

Atlantic Power Corp (NYSE:AT) reported earnings on May 8, beating sales estimates and pulling in positive earnings for the first time since Q2 2011.

Atlantic Power Corp (NYSE:AT)’s stock had been beaten down around 60% since 2013, after dismal Q4 earnings and a severely slashed dividend left investors less optimistic about Atlantic Power Corp (NYSE:AT)’s future. Since then, Atlantic has closed down non-core assets, improved cash flow, decreased short-term debt, and advanced its renewable-energy portfolio.

At its current price, this dividend stock currently offers a 7.2% yield, and investors seem to be willing to give Atlantic another chance. I took a closer look at how its fundamentals, valuation, and business strategy can push its price back up. Its stock is cheap and its business looks better — but I’m not buying yet.

FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE:FE)

FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE:FE) reported earnings May 7, exceeding top- and bottom-line expectations. Unlike Atlantic, its priced-for-perfection dividend stock gave less punch to positive news, and investors aren’t elated with FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE:FE)’s 1.6 debt-to-equity ratio.