Unitil Co. (UTL) Rating Reiterated by Royal Bank of Canada

Unitil Co. (NYSE:UTL)‘s stock had its “hold” rating reissued by equities researchers at Royal Bank of Canada in a research report issued to clients and investors on Friday. They presently have a $44.00 price target on the stock. Royal Bank of Canada’s target price suggests a potential downside of 0.25% from the stock’s current price.

Separately, Zacks Investment Research cut Unitil from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, December 27th.

Shares of Unitil (NYSE:UTL) opened at 44.11 on Friday. Unitil has a 1-year low of $35.37 and a 1-year high of $46.98. The company has a market cap of $620.45 million, a PE ratio of 22.78 and a beta of 0.17. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $44.62 and a 200-day moving average price of $42.57.

Unitil (NYSE:UTL) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 2nd. The company reported $0.73 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.72 by $0.01. Unitil had a return on equity of 9.36% and a net margin of 7.10%. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.67 earnings per share. Equities research analysts expect that Unitil will post $2.05 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, February 28th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, February 14th were paid a $0.36 dividend. This represents a $1.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.26%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, February 10th. This is a boost from Unitil’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.36. Unitil’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 74.23%.

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A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in UTL. Schroder Investment Management Group boosted its stake in shares of Unitil by 9.7% in the third quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 3,821 shares of the company’s stock worth $149,000 after buying an additional 338 shares during the period. Strs Ohio boosted its stake in shares of Unitil by 96.7% in the third quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 5,900 shares of the company’s stock worth $230,000 after buying an additional 2,900 shares during the period. Mesirow Financial Investment Management Equity Management boosted its stake in shares of Unitil by 43.4% in the third quarter. Mesirow Financial Investment Management Equity Management now owns 7,385 shares of the company’s stock worth $289,000 after buying an additional 2,236 shares during the period. First Trust Advisors LP boosted its stake in shares of Unitil by 11.4% in the third quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 7,684 shares of the company’s stock worth $300,000 after buying an additional 784 shares during the period. Finally, Sei Investments Co. boosted its stake in shares of Unitil by 28.6% in the third quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 10,010 shares of the company’s stock worth $391,000 after buying an additional 2,229 shares during the period. 59.95% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Unitil Company Profile

Unitil Corporation is a public utility holding company. The Company’s principal business is the local distribution of electricity in the southeastern seacoast and state capital regions of New Hampshire and the greater Fitchburg area of north central Massachusetts and the local distribution of natural gas in southeastern New Hampshire, portions of southern Maine to the Lewiston-Auburn area and in the greater Fitchburg area of north central Massachusetts.

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