Avista Corp. (NYSE:AVA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday. The firm presently has a $44.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price objective would suggest a potential upside of 11.53% from the stock’s current price.
According to Zacks, “Avista Corp. is a diversified energy company with utility and subsidiary operations located throughout North America. Avista Corp. also operates Avista Capital, which owns all the company’s non-regulated energy and non-energy businesses. Avista Capital companies include Avista Energy, Avista Energy Canada, Ltd., Avista Power, Avista Advantage, Avista Labs, Avista Fiber, Avista Communiations, Avista Development and Pentzer Corporation. (PRESS RELEASE) “
A number of other equities research analysts also recently weighed in on AVA. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $42.00 target price on shares of Avista Corp. in a report on Wednesday, June 22nd. Williams Capital boosted their price objective on Avista Corp. from $38.00 to $40.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, September 22nd.
Shares of Avista Corp. (NYSE:AVA) opened at 39.45 on Tuesday. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $41.59 and a 200-day moving average price of $41.63. Avista Corp. has a 1-year low of $32.61 and a 1-year high of $45.22. The company has a market cap of $2.51 billion, a PE ratio of 18.16 and a beta of 0.40.
Avista Corp. (NYSE:AVA) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, August 3rd. The company reported $0.43 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.45 by $0.02. The business earned $234.79 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $316.24 million. Avista Corp. had a return on equity of 8.32% and a net margin of 9.38%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 5.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.40 earnings per share. Equities research analysts expect that Avista Corp. will post $2.08 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 15th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, September 1st were issued a dividend of $0.3425 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, August 30th. This represents a $1.37 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.47%. Avista Corp.’s dividend payout ratio is 64.02%.
In related news, insider Marian M. Durkin sold 3,500 shares of Avista Corp. stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.56, for a total transaction of $148,960.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 67,245 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,861,947.20. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, SVP Jason R. Thackston sold 950 shares of Avista Corp. stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $40.90, for a total value of $38,855.00. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 17,232 shares in the company, valued at approximately $704,788.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 1.07% of the company’s stock.
Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of Avista Corp. by 10.9% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 6,029,702 shares of the company’s stock valued at $270,130,000 after buying an additional 593,353 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors boosted its position in shares of Avista Corp. by 6.1% in the second quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 7,179,309 shares of the company’s stock valued at $321,633,000 after buying an additional 413,934 shares during the last quarter. Hillcrest Asset Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Avista Corp. during the first quarter valued at about $9,180,000. Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. boosted its position in shares of Avista Corp. by 57.9% in the second quarter. Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. now owns 424,797 shares of the company’s stock valued at $19,032,000 after buying an additional 155,767 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Prudential Financial Inc. boosted its position in shares of Avista Corp. by 70.2% in the first quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 246,330 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,045,000 after buying an additional 101,600 shares during the last quarter. 68.07% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
About Avista Corp.
Avista Corporation is an electric and natural gas utility with certain other business ventures. The Company operates through two business segments: Avista Utilities, and Alaska Electric Light and Power Company (AEL&P). Avista Utilities segment generates, transmits and distributes electricity, and distributes natural gas serving electric and natural gas customers in eastern Washington and northern Idaho and natural gas customers in parts of Oregon.
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