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Should You Buy, Sell, or Hold TransCanada Corporation Today?

TransCanada Corporation (TSX:TRP)(NYSE:TRP), one of North America’s leading operators of natural gas pipelines and gas store facilities, announced first-quarter earnings results on the morning on May 1 and its stock has responded by remaining relatively flat. Let’s take a thorough look through the report to determine if this lack of movement represents a long-term buying opportunity, or if there is an underlying factor holding the stock back.

The mixed first-quarter results

Here’s a summary of TransCanada’s first-quarter earnings results compared with what analysts had anticipated and its results in the same period a year ago.

Metric Reported Expected Year-Ago
Comparable Earnings Per Share $0.66 $0.65 $0.60
Revenue $2.87 billion $2.89 billion $2.88 billion

Source: Financial Times

TransCanada’s comparable earnings per share increased 10% and its revenue decreased 0.3% compared with the first quarter of fiscal 2014. The company’s very strong earnings per share growth can be attributed to its comparable net income increasing 10.2% to $465 million, as well as a $0.11 per share benefit from its risk management activities.

Its slight decline in revenue can be attributed to revenue falling 14% to $1.13 billion in its Energy segment, which more than offset revenues increasing 7.4% to $1.31 billion in its Natural Gas Pipelines segment and 23.4% to $443 million in its Liquids Pipelines segment.

Here’s a quick breakdown of 10 other notable statistics from the report compared with the year-ago period:

  1. Delivery volumes decreased 6.5% to 1.06 trillion cubic feet in its NGTL System segment
  2. Delivery volumes increased 0.2% to 529 billion cubic feet in its Canadian Mainline segment
  3. Delivery volumes decreased 3% to 509 billion cubic feet in its ANR Pipeline segment
  4. Comparable earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) increased 9.7% to $1.53 billion
  5. Funds generated from operations increased 4.6% to $1.15 billion
  6. Comparable earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) increased 9.4% to $1.1 billion
  7. Net cash provided by operations decreased 22.4% to $760 million
  8. Capital expenditures increased 8.3% to $806 million
  9. Average number of diluted common shares outstanding increased 0.3% to 710 million
  10. Ended the quarter with $1.82 billion in cash and cash equivalents, an increase of 272.4% from the beginning of the quarter

TransCanada also announced that it will be maintaining its dividend of $0.52 per share in the second quarter, and it will be paid out on July 31 to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 30.

Should you invest in TransCanada today?

After reviewing the quarter’s results, I think the lack of movement in TransCanada’s stock represents an attractive long-term buying opportunity, especially because it trades at favourable forward valuations and because it has a high dividend yield.

First, TransCanada’s stock trades at just 22.4 times fiscal 2015’s estimated earnings per share of $2.50 and only 21 times fiscal 2016’s estimated earnings per share of $2.67, both of which are very inexpensive compared with the industry average price-to-earnings multiple of 28.5.

Second, TransCanada pays a quarterly dividend of $0.52 per share, or $2.08 per share annually, giving its stock a 3.7% yield at today’s levels. The company has also increased its dividend for 15 consecutive years, making it one of the top dividend-growth plays in the market today.

With all of the information provided above in mind, I think all Foolish investors should take a closer look at TransCanada today and strongly consider beginning to scale in to long-term positions.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Joseph Solitro has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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