Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK) issued the following statement regarding federal court approval of an agreement with the U.S. government to close a federal investigation of its subsidiaries – Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Business Services – related to the Dan River coal ash spill and ash basin operations at other North Carolina coal plants.

Duke Energy statement

Today’s decision by Judge Malcolm Howard officially closes this chapter in our company’s history. We’ve used the Dan River incident as an opportunity to set a new, industry-leading standard for the management of coal ash. We are implementing innovative and sustainable closure solutions for all of our ash basins, building on the important steps we’ve taken over the past year to strengthen our operations. Our highest priority is to operate our system as safely as possible for the customers and communities we serve.

Additional background

It has been a year of meaningful progress and improvement. Our actions include:

  • Moving ash in South Carolina to excavate and close basins at the retired W.S. Lee plant, with plans to excavate basins at the Robinson facility as well.
  • Continuing to remove and safely reuse ash from the Asheville Steam Electric Generating Plant to a structural fill at the airport.
  • Revamping the organization to strengthen coal ash management, creating new teams exclusively devoted to this important work.
  • Developing industry-leading solutions to safely close ash basins with guidance from some of the nation’s top experts in ash management, engineering and the environment.
  • Conducting comprehensive engineering reviews by outside experts, including video inspections of pipes at ash basins, to ensure the system continues to operate safely.
  • Participating in a more robust monitoring and reporting process for water seeps at ash basins, sharing detailed information with the state so regulators can make appropriate permitting decisions.
  • Recycling nearly half of the coal ash produced today and aggressively looking for innovative new options to safely reuse even more of the material.(Original Source)

Shares of Duke Energy opened today at $74.35 and are currently trading up at $75.4. DUK has a 1-year high of $89.97 and a 1-year low of $68.81. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $76.44 and its 200-day moving average is $79.27.

On the ratings front, Duke Energy has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on May 7, RBC analyst Shelby Tucker reiterated a Buy rating on DUK, with a price target of $93, which implies an upside of 25.1% from current levels. Separately, on May 4, Barclays’ Daniel Ford maintained a Hold rating on the stock and has a price target of $82.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Shelby Tucker and Daniel Ford have a total average return of 1.9% and 8.7% respectively. Tucker has a success rate of 61.9% and is ranked #1987 out of 3602 analysts, while Ford has a success rate of 71.0% and is ranked #573.

In total, 3 research analysts have assigned a Hold rating and 2 research analysts have given a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $74.35 which is 14.9% above where the stock opened today.

Duke Energy Corporation operates as an energy company. The Company operates in three business segments; Regulated Utilities, International Energy and Commercial Power.