DEMAND CONCERNS: Electric utility Duke Energy reported strong earnings in the second quarter, mostly as a result of hot weather and a good performance overseas. When the effect of weather is removed from results, power demand in Duke's U.S. service territory was weak, reflecting a wobbly national economy.
BOTTOM LINE: Duke said it earned $441 million on a 7 percent rise in revenue to $3.53 billion. This compares with a loss of $217 million on $3.29 billion in sales for the company's second quarter of 2010. Last year's results were dragged down by a $660 million write-down of the value of power plants in the Midwest.
WHAT'S NEXT: Duke said Tuesday its proposed merger with Progress Energy, which would create the nation's biggest utility, remains on track to close later this year. The company also is trying to recoup the rising costs of a new coal plant in Indiana, but consumer groups are fighting the effort. And the scorching summer of 2011 will likely boost results in the third quarter, typically the company's strongest.