Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of FirstEnergy Corporation (NYSE:FE) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Wednesday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $35.00 price objective on the utilities provider’s stock.
According to Zacks, “Shares of FirstEnergy's have gained higher than the industry in the last three months.FirstEnergy’s modernization drive and new generation asset additions have led to its ambitious “Energizing the Future” plan aimed at upgrading and expanding its transmission capabilities. FirstEnergy is also gaining from industrial load growth. The company is working to transform itself into a regulated company by mid of 2018. It has secured regulatory approvals for base rate increase in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio which are expected to boost its top line in 2017. However, FirstEnergy’s higher debt/capital ratio compared with peers may further drive up its cost of capital in the rising interest rate environment. High competition in the wholesale and retail electric markets can affect its top line.”
A number of other equities research analysts also recently issued reports on the stock. ValuEngine downgraded shares of FirstEnergy Corporation from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 12th. Morgan Stanley upped their price objective on shares of FirstEnergy Corporation from $39.00 to $40.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research report on Friday, September 8th. Evercore ISI raised shares of FirstEnergy Corporation from an in-line rating to an outperform rating and upped their price objective for the stock from $30.00 to $35.00 in a research report on Monday, August 14th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $33.00 price objective (up from $31.00) on shares of FirstEnergy Corporation in a research report on Monday, July 31st. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $34.00 price objective (up from $31.00) on shares of FirstEnergy Corporation in a research report on Monday, July 31st. Thirteen investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $34.02.
FirstEnergy Corporation (NYSE:FE) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 27th. The utilities provider reported $0.61 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.61. FirstEnergy Corporation had a negative net margin of 35.59% and a positive return on equity of 15.41%. The business had revenue of $3.30 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.38 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.56 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 3.0% compared to the same quarter last year.
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The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 1st. Investors of record on Tuesday, November 7th will be paid a dividend of $0.36 per share. This represents a $1.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.62%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, November 6th. FirstEnergy Corporation’s payout ratio is currently -12.31%.
Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Patriot Financial Group Insurance Agency LLC lifted its stake in shares of FirstEnergy Corporation by 22.1% during the 2nd quarter. Patriot Financial Group Insurance Agency LLC now owns 3,633 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $106,000 after buying an additional 658 shares in the last quarter. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of FirstEnergy Corporation during the 1st quarter valued at approximately $139,000. Sandy Spring Bank lifted its stake in shares of FirstEnergy Corporation by 1.3% during the 2nd quarter. Sandy Spring Bank now owns 5,141 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $150,000 after buying an additional 66 shares in the last quarter. City Holding Co. lifted its stake in shares of FirstEnergy Corporation by 8.2% during the 2nd quarter. City Holding Co. now owns 5,261 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $153,000 after buying an additional 400 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC purchased a new stake in shares of FirstEnergy Corporation during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $215,000. Institutional investors own 79.97% of the company’s stock.
About FirstEnergy Corporation
FirstEnergy Corp. is a holding company. The Company is engaged in holding, directly or indirectly, all of the outstanding equity of its principal subsidiaries. Its segments include Regulated Distribution, Regulated Transmission, Competitive Energy Services (CES) and Corporate/Other. As of December 31, 2016, the Regulated Distribution segment distributed electricity through the Company’s 10 utility operating companies, serving approximately six million customers, and purchased power for its provider of last resort (POLR), standard offer service (SOS), standard offer service (SSO) and default service requirements in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland.
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