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Byline: ALAN R. ELLIOTT
Intrinsic vs. extrinsic. Duke Energy Corp. has put four years and billions of dollars into balancing those two ideas.
Duke's at the head of an industry trend to demolish long-standing barriers between energy traders and the asset side of the utility business. The aim is to balance the intrinsic value of hard assets with the extrinsic value of market trading opportunities.
Energy prices have tumbled from last year's peaks. But Duke and others tinkering with the asset-trading mix, including Dynegy Inc. and Aquila Inc., have moved earnings ahead in an otherwise overcast economy.
Now Duke has its checkbook out, ready to notch up its momentum. It expects to close its $8.5 billion …