Aqua America Inc. (NYSE:WTR) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday.
According to Zacks, “Aqua America’s extensive network of water and wastewater systems, continuous investments in regulated assets will help it to provide high quality and reliable water services to its expanding customer base. The company is also gaining from constructive rate decisions in different states it operates. The company pushes forward on its inorganic growth strategy to increase its customer base and expand service territories. However, Aqua America Inc. runs an inherent risk of contamination of water sources, which could raise its operating costs and fluctuating weather conditions can lower the demand for water. In addition, securing essential funds for growth projects at a favorable rate could pose challenges for this capital intensive utility. “
A number of other equities research analysts also recently issued reports on WTR. Barclays PLC reduced their price objective on shares of Aqua America from $38.00 to $34.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, September 6th. Hilliard Lyons reiterated an “underperform” rating and set a $27.00 price objective on shares of Aqua America in a research note on Wednesday, September 14th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $32.71.
Shares of Aqua America (NYSE:WTR) traded down 0.22% during trading on Wednesday, hitting $31.13. 262,085 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. Aqua America has a 1-year low of $25.99 and a 1-year high of $35.83. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $31.16 and its 200-day moving average price is $32.45. The stock has a market cap of $5.52 billion, a PE ratio of 26.61 and a beta of 0.42.
Aqua America (NYSE:WTR) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 2nd. The company reported $0.33 EPS for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.33. Aqua America had a net margin of 25.44% and a return on equity of 13.05%. The business had revenue of $203.88 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $209.61 million. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.32 earnings per share. Aqua America’s revenue was down .9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts expect that Aqua America will post $1.33 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 1st. Stockholders of record on Thursday, August 18th were issued a $0.1913 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, August 16th. This represents a $0.77 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.45%. This is a boost from Aqua America’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.18. Aqua America’s dividend payout ratio is 66.38%.
Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Mason Street Advisors LLC bought a new position in Aqua America during the second quarter worth approximately $2,883,000. IFP Advisors Inc boosted its position in Aqua America by 4.9% in the second quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 10,974 shares of the company’s stock worth $391,000 after buying an additional 512 shares during the period. Personal Capital Advisors Corp boosted its position in Aqua America by 11.2% in the second quarter. Personal Capital Advisors Corp now owns 369,537 shares of the company’s stock worth $13,178,000 after buying an additional 37,210 shares during the period. Farmers National Bank boosted its position in Aqua America by 0.7% in the second quarter. Farmers National Bank now owns 35,773 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,266,000 after buying an additional 261 shares during the period. Finally, Calvert Investment Management Inc. boosted its position in Aqua America by 2.6% in the second quarter. Calvert Investment Management Inc. now owns 39,987 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,426,000 after buying an additional 1,005 shares during the period. 47.76% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Aqua America Company Profile
Aqua America, Inc is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides water or wastewater services in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana and Virginia, among others. It is the holding company for its subsidiary, Aqua Pennsylvania, Inc Its market-based activities are conducted through Aqua Resources Inc and Aqua Infrastructure, LLC.
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