NorthWestern (NWE) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Sell”

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of NorthWestern (NYSE:NWE) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report released on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “NorthWestern Energy is a growing, financially sound, investor-owned energy company. It has provided reliable and affordable energy to customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. The company got its start in small communities, providing essential service that allowed them to grow and prosper. “

NWE has been the subject of a number of other research reports. Wells Fargo & Co increased their price objective on shares of NorthWestern from $59.00 to $61.00 and gave the stock a market perform rating in a research report on Monday, September 17th. Credit Suisse Group increased their price objective on shares of NorthWestern from $55.00 to $56.00 and gave the stock an underperform rating in a research report on Monday, October 1st. Barclays started coverage on shares of NorthWestern in a research report on Tuesday, July 10th. They set an equal weight rating and a $60.00 price objective for the company. Finally, ValuEngine raised shares of NorthWestern from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Monday, July 2nd. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $59.60.

Shares of NYSE:NWE traded up $0.91 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $60.23. 3,239 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 389,576. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.07, a quick ratio of 0.62 and a current ratio of 0.77. The stock has a market capitalization of $2.95 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.00, a PEG ratio of 7.51 and a beta of 0.09. NorthWestern has a 1 year low of $50.01 and a 1 year high of $64.47.

NorthWestern (NYSE:NWE) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 19th. The utilities provider reported $0.87 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.44 by $0.43. The firm had revenue of $261.82 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $286.14 million. NorthWestern had a net margin of 14.84% and a return on equity of 10.28%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 7.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.47 EPS. Research analysts forecast that NorthWestern will post 3.45 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 28th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 14th were issued a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, September 13th. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.65%. NorthWestern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 66.67%.

In other NorthWestern news, VP Curtis T. Pohl sold 1,200 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.73, for a total transaction of $70,476.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 1.40% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Aperio Group LLC lifted its holdings in NorthWestern by 28.9% during the 3rd quarter. Aperio Group LLC now owns 131,151 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $7,693,000 after buying an additional 29,442 shares in the last quarter. MERIAN GLOBAL INVESTORS UK Ltd acquired a new stake in NorthWestern during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $4,073,000. Personal Capital Advisors Corp lifted its holdings in NorthWestern by 7.9% during the 3rd quarter. Personal Capital Advisors Corp now owns 74,630 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $4,378,000 after buying an additional 5,436 shares in the last quarter. First PREMIER Bank lifted its holdings in NorthWestern by 2.4% during the 3rd quarter. First PREMIER Bank now owns 138,812 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $8,142,000 after buying an additional 3,242 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Dalton Greiner Hartman Maher & Co. raised its holdings in shares of NorthWestern by 6.1% in the 3rd quarter. Dalton Greiner Hartman Maher & Co. now owns 353,496 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $20,736,000 after purchasing an additional 20,306 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 95.31% of the company’s stock.

NorthWestern Company Profile

NorthWestern Corporation, doing business as NorthWestern Energy, provides electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, and industrial customers. The company operates through Electric Operations and Natural Gas Operations segments. It generates, transmits, and distributes electricity; and produces, stores, transmits, and distributes natural gas, as well as owns municipal franchises to provide natural gas service in the communities.

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