Duke Energy misses mark

CHARLOTTE - Even as Duke Energy reported earnings Wednesday that badly missed analysts' expectations, CEO Jim Rogers said he felt good about its prospects under the incoming administration in Washington.

Poor weather and a deteriorating economy contributed to Duke's third-quarter net income dropping 65 percent, compared with the same period last year, for the Charlotte utility. Net income was $215 million, or 17 cents per share, compared with $607 million, or 48 cents per share in 2007.

Last summer was mild, especially when stacked against the heat wave of 2007. And the remnants of hurricanes Ike and Gustav produced what Duke said was the worst Midwest storm-related outages ever.

The nation's real estate crisis also continued to hurt Duke, which has a 49 percent stake in Crescent Resources, a high-end land development company. Duke reported an equity earnings loss of $124 million from its interest in Crescent, compared with $10 million in positive earnings for the same quarter in 2007.

Because of an accounting method, Duke does not expect to see additional operating losses connected to Crescent. "The bleeding has stopped," Rogers said in an interview.

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