Entergy expects to see large first quarter earnings increase

New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. expects first-quarter earnings of around $2.28 per share, well above the 94 cents recorded in a year ago and stock analysts’ $1.15 forecast.

The increase was driven by higher results at Entergy Wholesale Commodities and Utility. The commodities segment benefitted from “significantly” higher wholesale electricity prices, thanks to cold winter weather and the limited capacity of natural gas pipelines to the Northeast.

Entergy said those limitations reinforce the need for a diverse generation portfolio and the value of existing nuclear power plants in the region.

The utility segment also saw higher earnings as a result of colder-than-normal temperatures.

Entergy also raised its 2014 earnings forecast to $5.55 to $6.75 per share.

Both first-quarter and 2014 earnings figures are reported as operational earnings. This measure shows revenue after expenses associated with operating the business, including cost of goods, administration and marketing, according to Investopedia.com. Operating earnings are an important measure of profitability that allow investors to assess the profitability of a company’s core business.