Moody's Investors Service has confirmed the credit ratings of Duke Power Co. (DP) despite the utility's decision to repurchase up to $1 billion in stock by 2000. Moody's expects DP to maintain its 'Aa2' senior secured bond rating. DP management intends to repurchase the stock while allowing a gradual increase in the retained earnings cushion. The program was designed to absorb the substantial cash inflow caused by the reversal of the Catawba power plant purchased-capacity levelization in 1996 and by the utility's declining capital expenditure needs. Moody's says the planned use of growing cash reserves without diminishing financial flexibility is consistent with DP's credit profile.
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