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Exelon 3Q net squeezed by lower power prices

CHICAGO — Exelon Corp., the nation’s largest supplier of wholesale electric power, said Thursday that its third-quarter earnings were squeezed by lower prices for the power it makes, while costs for nuclear fuel rose.

Exelon earned $296 million, or 35 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Sept. 30. In March Exelon closed on its purchase of Constellation Energy, so recent results are not comparable to its year-ago profit of $601 million, or 90 cents per share.

Not counting special items, Exelon said it would have earned $658 million, or 77 cents per share, in the recent quarter. Revenue fell 6.6 percent to $6.57 billion.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected a profit of 72 cents per share on revenue of $5.72 billion.

The Chicago-based company runs the most nuclear plants in the U.S., and has operations in 47 states. Exelon saw lower market prices for the sale of energy across all regions. It also produced less nuclear power because of a combination of planned and unplanned outages, and maintenance expenses rose.

Exelon raised its expectation for adjusted 2012 operating earnings per share to $2.75 to $2.95 per share, assuming normal weather for the rest of the year. That includes preliminary cost estimates for the impact of Superstorm Sandy.

Exelon shares fell 79 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $34.99 in afternoon trading.