Ameren Shares Fall After Earnings Miss Estimates

Ameren Corp., owner of Missouri’s largest utility, fell the most in 11 months after the company reported earnings that fell short of analysts’ estimates and narrowed its 2012 profit forecast.

Ameren fell 3.6 percent to $30.36 at the close in New York, the biggest drop since Dec. 2, 2011.

Excluding a tax gain and a gain from contracts to lock in commodity prices, Ameren’s per-share profit was 8 cents less than the $1.41 average of eight analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Lower electricity sales at its Missouri utility, lower power prices and higher coal costs for its merchant generation unit and an Illinois utility rate order hurt quarterly results, the St. Louis, Missouri-based company said in a statement.

“Results were weak based on Ameren Illinois new formula rates, which now reflect an authorized return on equity of 8.8 percent, one of the lowest authorized electric rates in the country,” said Julien Dumoulin-Smith, a New York-based utility analyst for UBS Securities LLC, said in a telephone interview.

“As a consequence, results were materially lighter than our expectations,” said Dumoulin-Smith, who rates Ameren shares to neutral, the equivalent of a hold, and doesn’t own any.

The company narrowed its 2012 adjusted earnings per share guidance to $2.35 to $2.45, compared with a prior range of $2.25 to $2.55, Ameren said. Estimated 2012 per-share profit was $2.46, based on the average of 11 analysts compiled by Bloomberg.

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