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Xcel Energy Inc. is an electric and natural gas delivery company. The Company provides a portfolio of energy-related products and services through its four utility subsidiaries. Its segments include Regulated Electric and Regulated Natural Gas. The Regulated Electric utility segment generates, transmits, and distributes electricity in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico. In addition, it also engaged in the sales for resale and provides wholesale transmission service to various entities in the United States. The Regulated Natural Gas segment transports, stores and distributes natural gas primarily in portions of Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Michigan and Colorado. Its utility subsidiaries include NSP-Minnesota, NSP-Wisconsin, Public Service Company of Colorado, and Southwestern Public Service Co. (SPS). The Company also offers residential services, such as heating and cooling solutions and home services.


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Cannabis M&A cools but deals remain on the table despite scuttled Verano acquisition, analyst says

8:43 am ET October 18, 2022 (MarketWatch)

By Steve Gelsi

Cantor Fitzgerald's Pablo Zuanic says Jushi and Ascend could be attractive targets

While mergers and acquisitions in the cannabis space remain mostly on hold for now, Jushi Holdings Inc. and Ascend Wellness Holdings could be attractive targets for larger multistate operators in the future, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Pablo Zuanic said Monday.

Jushi Holdings Inc. CA:JUSH and Ascend Wellness (AAWH) rank as Zuanic's top contenders as potential acquisition targets based on their respective geographies, followed by Ayr Wellness Inc. , TerrAscend Corp. , 4FrontVentures and Goodness Growth.

"The attractiveness of target companies will depend on footprint (some markets, based on size, but even more importantly, on regulations, will indeed be more attractive than others) and overlap," he said.

Also read:Baseball Hall of Famer Steve Garvey backs Level Select CBD products as more than just a big name

Despite the demise of a second high-profile deal in New York, the pending all-stock acquisition of Columbia Care by Cresco Labs is still expected to wrap up by the end of the year, Zuanic said.

Meanwhile, Verano Holdings said Friday it will no longer acquire Goodness Growth Holdings in an all-stock deal in New York, New Mexico and Minnesota that was valued at $413 million when it was initially announced in February.

At the time, New York state was seen as a highly desirable cannabis location because of the size of the pending market. However, with regulators opting to award the first licenses to people affected by the U.S. war on drugs, some companies have become less enthusiastic about the Empire State.

Also read: New York poised to award first retail cannabis licenses to drug war casualties instead of big incumbents

Verano's decision to scrap its acquisition of Goodness Growth came after Ascend Wellness announced in August that it would not pursue its $73 million acquisition of MedMen Enterprises Inc.'s (MMNFF) New York properties.

Dealmakers in the space will likely bide their time until uncertainty resolves over whether Congress will pass the SAFE Banking measure this year, Zuanic said. The measure is now often described as SAFE Plus Banking, because the latest version would harmonize the House and Senate versions.

The SAFE Plus Banking legislation, which would open up the financial system to cannabis companies, has been thrust back into the spotlight after President Joe Biden earlier this month launched a review of cannabis as a Schedule 1 controlled substance and said he would release federal prisoners jailed for possession of cannabis.

Also read:Cannabis stocks rocket to a record day after Biden lights the fuse

"We think uncertainty around SAFE Plus will probably delay M&A activity until after the lame duck session," Zuanic said in a note to clients. "If SAFE Plus passes, valuations for all U.S. cannabis stocks should go up, and companies with stretched balance sheets may be in a better position to raise new capital."

While the outcome of SAFE Plus Banking will influence valuations of cannabis companies, "we would expect smaller mid-size and smaller operators to be sold eventually," Zuanic said.

Zuanic noted that Abner Kurtin, the former CEO of Ascend, has said the company is too small to be independent for the long term.

While cannabis stocks rallied on Biden's move to review the potential rescheduling or possibly descheduling of cannabis, shares have been moving into the red sharply this year despite strong revenue growth in the sector as more states launched medical- or adult-use programs.

The cannabis stock selloff on lackluster prospects for federal legalization has included the largest players, which are logical acquirers of the smaller companies listed above by Zuanic.

Curaleaf Holdings Inc. is down 40.8% so far in 2022, Trulieve Cannabis Corp. has fallen 61.7%, Green Thumb Industries Inc. is down 54.6%, Cresco Labs has fallen 52.7% and Verano Holdings Corp. has lost 63.3%. The AdvisorShares Pure U.S. Cannabis ETF (MSOS) has lost 61.4% of its value in 2022. Jushi shares are down 52.6% in 2022 and Ascend Wellness is off by 73.3%.

Also read:Bronfman-backed Capsoil brings nano powder tech to cannabis with first edibles line

-Steve Gelsi


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2022 08:43 ET (12:43 GMT)

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