FirstEnergy’s stock surges to lead S&P 500 gainers after Icahn discloses plan to buy a stake

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Shares of FirstEnergy Corp.
FE,
+8.84%
shot up 9.5% toward a seven-month high in afternoon trading Thursday, enough to space the S&P 500’s
SPX,
-0.41%
gainers, as investors seemed to focus more on billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn’s plan to buy a stake in the electric utility than on the company’s profit and revenue miss. The company disclosed in its 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it was notified that Icahn “has a present good faith intention to acquire voting securities” of the company, in an amount somewhere between $184 million and $919.9 million. The company said it didn’t know if Icahn had already acquired shares or derivatives to buy shares, and doesn’t know Icahn’s intentions. Separately, the company reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $242 million, or 45 cents a share, after a loss of $111 million, or 20 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding nonrecurring items, adjusted EPS of 32 cents was below the consensus analyst estimate of 47 cents, according to FactSet. Revenue fell 7.4% to $2.5 billion, below the FactSet consensus of $2.9 billion. FirstEnergy’s stock has tumbled 33.1% over the past 12 months, while the SPDR Utilities Select Sector ETF
XLU,
+0.93%
has lost 11.8% and the S&P 500 has gained 16.2%.

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