Chesapeake Utilities Co. (CPK) Lowered to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Chesapeake Utilities Co. (NYSE:CPK) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday, May 9th.

According to Zacks, “Chesapeake Utilities Corporation is a utility company engaged in natural gas distribution and transmission, propane distribution and marketing, advanced information services and other related businesses.Chesapeake’s three natural gas distribution divisions serve residential, commercial and industrial customers in southern Delaware, Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Florida. The Company’s natural gas transmission subsidiary operates an interstate pipeline system that transports gas from various points in Pennsylvania to Delaware and Maryland distribution divisions. “

Separately, Royal Bank of Canada began coverage on shares of Chesapeake Utilities in a report on Wednesday, April 26th. They set a “sector perform” rating and a $75.00 price objective on the stock. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Chesapeake Utilities has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $72.00.

Analyst Recommendations for Chesapeake Utilities (NYSE:CPK)

Chesapeake Utilities (NYSE:CPK) remained flat at $71.75 during mid-day trading on Tuesday. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 42,453 shares. Chesapeake Utilities has a 52-week low of $56.56 and a 52-week high of $74.85. The company has a market cap of $1.17 billion, a PE ratio of 26.23 and a beta of 0.20. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $71.40 and its 200-day moving average price is $67.35.

Chesapeake Utilities (NYSE:CPK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, May 3rd. The utilities provider reported $1.17 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.46 by $0.29. Chesapeake Utilities had a return on equity of 11.34% and a net margin of 8.98%. The company had revenue of $185.20 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $159.70 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $1.33 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 26.6% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts expect that Chesapeake Utilities will post $2.99 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, July 5th. Investors of record on Thursday, June 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.325 per share. This represents a $1.30 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.81%. This is an increase from Chesapeake Utilities’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.31. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, June 13th. Chesapeake Utilities’s payout ratio is 45.19%.

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In other Chesapeake Utilities news, insider John R. Schimkaitis sold 2,125 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, March 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $68.70, for a total value of $145,987.50. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, insider Jeffry M. Householder sold 1,400 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $68.73, for a total transaction of $96,222.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 11,193 shares of company stock valued at $793,120. 5.36% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of CPK. Energy Income Partners LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Chesapeake Utilities during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $34,466,000. Adage Capital Partners GP L.L.C. increased its stake in shares of Chesapeake Utilities by 536.8% in the third quarter. Adage Capital Partners GP L.L.C. now owns 296,575 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $18,109,000 after buying an additional 250,000 shares during the last quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP purchased a new stake in shares of Chesapeake Utilities during the first quarter valued at approximately $12,150,000. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Chesapeake Utilities by 7.2% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 838,531 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $58,026,000 after buying an additional 56,078 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its stake in shares of Chesapeake Utilities by 10.9% in the first quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 493,710 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $34,165,000 after buying an additional 48,578 shares during the last quarter. 56.97% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Chesapeake Utilities

Chesapeake Utilities Corporation (Chesapeake) is an energy company. The Company operates through two segments: Regulated Energy and Unregulated Energy. The Company provides natural gas distribution and transmission; natural gas supply, gathering, processing and marketing; electric distribution and generation; propane distribution; propane and crude oil wholesale marketing; steam generation, and other energy-related services.

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