Zacks: UNITIL Corporation (UTL) Given Consensus Recommendation of “Hold” by Brokerages

Shares of UNITIL Corporation (NYSE:UTL) have earned an average broker rating score of 3.00 (Hold) from the one analysts that provide coverage for the company, Zacks Investment Research reports. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a hold recommendation.

Analysts have set a 1 year consensus target price of $50.00 for the company and are predicting that the company will post $0.11 earnings per share for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Zacks has also given UNITIL Corporation an industry rank of 100 out of 265 based on the ratings given to related companies.

Several equities research analysts have recently issued reports on UTL shares. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of UNITIL Corporation from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 1st. BidaskClub lowered shares of UNITIL Corporation from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada reissued a “hold” rating and set a $47.00 target price on shares of UNITIL Corporation in a research note on Tuesday, August 15th.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA boosted its stake in shares of UNITIL Corporation by 293.5% during the 2nd quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 2,349 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $113,000 after acquiring an additional 1,752 shares in the last quarter. O Shaughnessy Asset Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of UNITIL Corporation by 11.5% during the 1st quarter. O Shaughnessy Asset Management LLC now owns 4,511 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $203,000 after acquiring an additional 464 shares in the last quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group boosted its stake in shares of UNITIL Corporation by 29.4% during the 1st quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 4,908 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $221,000 after acquiring an additional 1,114 shares in the last quarter. Thrivent Financial For Lutherans purchased a new stake in shares of UNITIL Corporation during the 2nd quarter worth about $254,000. Finally, Strs Ohio boosted its stake in shares of UNITIL Corporation by 6.8% during the 2nd quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 6,300 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $304,000 after acquiring an additional 400 shares in the last quarter. 59.39% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of UNITIL Corporation (NYSE UTL) opened at 49.76 on Friday. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $49.99 and a 200-day moving average price of $47.87. UNITIL Corporation has a 52 week low of $37.31 and a 52 week high of $52.20. The firm has a market cap of $702.36 million, a PE ratio of 23.91 and a beta of 0.22.

UNITIL Corporation (NYSE:UTL) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The utilities provider reported $0.23 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.21 by $0.02. UNITIL Corporation had a net margin of 7.52% and a return on equity of 9.88%. The company had revenue of $80.80 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $78.10 million. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.18 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts predict that UNITIL Corporation will post $2.00 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, August 29th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, August 15th were paid a dividend of $0.36 per share. This represents a $1.44 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.89%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, August 11th. UNITIL Corporation’s payout ratio is currently 68.90%.

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About UNITIL Corporation

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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