Zacks Investment Research Lowers PPL Corporation (PPL) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Monday morning.

According to Zacks, “Shares of PPL Corp. have gained higher than the industry in the last 12 months. PPL Corp. is poised to gain from its capital investment plan, which primarily focuses on infrastructure construction projects for generation, transmission and distribution. It has reestablished its hedge levels to shield itself from any near-term decline in the GBP. PPL Corp’s earnings are expected to improve annually by 5-6% in 2017-2020 time period, thanks to the contribution from its domestic and U.K. operations. However, environmental regulatory risks pose challenges to PPL Corp.’s growth. The company’s operations are also subject to service disruptions in the form of breakdown of equipment. Unfavorable weather in Kentucky is also adversely impacting earnings.”

A number of other research firms also recently issued reports on PPL. BidaskClub downgraded shares of PPL Corporation from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a report on Monday, July 31st. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a buy rating and issued a $43.50 price objective (up from $42.00) on shares of PPL Corporation in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) upgraded shares of PPL Corporation from a sell rating to a neutral rating and lifted their price objective for the company from $35.00 to $38.00 in a report on Monday, June 26th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded shares of PPL Corporation from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Friday, September 1st. Eight research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $38.94.

Shares of PPL Corporation (NYSE PPL) opened at 39.13 on Monday. PPL Corporation has a 52-week low of $32.08 and a 52-week high of $40.20. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $39.00 and a 200 day moving average of $38.36. The company has a market capitalization of $26.84 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.38 and a beta of 0.49.

PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 3rd. The utilities provider reported $0.52 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.50 by $0.02. PPL Corporation had a net margin of 22.08% and a return on equity of 15.96%. The company had revenue of $1.73 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.79 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.56 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was down 3.4% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts anticipate that PPL Corporation will post $2.16 EPS for the current year.

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The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 2nd. Investors of record on Friday, September 8th will be paid a $0.395 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 7th. This represents a $1.58 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.04%. PPL Corporation’s dividend payout ratio is presently 66.11%.

In related news, insider Gregory N. Dudkin sold 8,228 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, June 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $39.55, for a total value of $325,417.40. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 39,693 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,569,858.15. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, VP Joseph P. Bergstein, Jr. sold 2,929 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, July 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $38.55, for a total transaction of $112,912.95. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 55,391 shares of company stock valued at $2,181,282 over the last three months. 0.40% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Lord Abbett & CO. LLC boosted its position in PPL Corporation by 0.3% during the second quarter. Lord Abbett & CO. LLC now owns 2,435,800 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $94,168,000 after purchasing an additional 7,000 shares during the period. Advisory Services Network LLC boosted its position in PPL Corporation by 84.1% during the second quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 61,838 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,391,000 after purchasing an additional 28,249 shares during the period. Sterling Capital Management LLC boosted its position in PPL Corporation by 532.3% during the second quarter. Sterling Capital Management LLC now owns 231,485 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $8,949,000 after purchasing an additional 194,875 shares during the period. Wilbanks Smith & Thomas Asset Management LLC boosted its position in PPL Corporation by 2.1% during the second quarter. Wilbanks Smith & Thomas Asset Management LLC now owns 10,085 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $390,000 after purchasing an additional 205 shares during the period. Finally, Laurel Wealth Advisors Inc. boosted its position in PPL Corporation by 2.5% during the second quarter. Laurel Wealth Advisors Inc. now owns 22,820 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $882,000 after purchasing an additional 556 shares during the period. 70.95% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About PPL Corporation

PPL Corporation (PPL) is a utility holding company. Through its subsidiaries, PPL delivers electricity to customers in the United Kingdom, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee; delivers natural gas to customers in Kentucky, and generates electricity from power plants in Kentucky. PPL operates through U.K.

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