KeyBanc Capital Markets recently commented on what investors can expect when a number of utility-themed companies report their earnings for the last three months of 2015. Among the stocks discussed by the firm are MDU Resources Group Inc (NYSE:MDU), Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK) and Vectren Corp (NYSE:VVC). These companies have their earnings reports coming up this month, but on different dates.

MDU Resources Group Inc (NYSE:MDU) to surprise on the downside

MDU Resources is preparing to reports 4Q2015 earnings on Feb. 4, 2016. KeyBanc rates the stock Overweight and has $22 price target on it. For the upcoming earnings report, the firm expects MDU Resources to post EPS of $0.22, which is a step-down from the earlier EPS estimate of $0.25 for the quarter.

MDU Resources itself guided for EPS of $0.35 for the quarter and Wall Street on the average is looking for EPS of $0.27, which means that the company might surprise on the upside if it does meet its own target.

However, KeyBanc appears to doubt MDU Resources Group Inc (NYSE:MDU)’s ability to beat expectations, claiming that the Dakota Prairie Refinery (DPR) issue is likely to weight down earnings.

For full-year 2016, KeyBanc is predicting that MDU Resources will report EPS of $1.20, suggesting potential 38% upside to 2015. Consensus estimate calls for 2016 EPS of $1.19.

Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK) to miss consensus estimate

KeyBanc believes that Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK) will miss consensus EPS estimate for 4Q2015. The company reports the quarter on Feb. 18, 2016. KeyBanc is looking for EPS of $0.86 for the quarter, same as Duke Energy’s own projection of $0.86. However, Wall Street is looking for EPS of $0.92 for the quarter.

KeyBancrates Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK) Sector Weight.

Surprise on the downside looming on Vectren Corp (NYSE:VVC)

KeyBanc is expecting Vectren Corp (NYSE:VVC) to post EPS of $0.62 for 4Q2015, but the consensus estimate calls for EPS of $0.71 for the quarter. Vectren itself guided EPS of $0.68 for the 4Q. On that note, KeyBanc believes that Vectren will deliver a disappointment when it reports earnings on Feb. 22, 2016.

KeyBancrates VectrenSector Weight.