American States Water Company (AWR) Rating Increased to Strong-Buy at Zacks Investment Research

American States Water Company (NYSE:AWR) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Monday. The brokerage presently has a $64.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target points to a potential upside of 18.61% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Shares of American States Water have outperformed the industry in the last 12 months.  The company’s strength lies in an expanding customer base, extensive water rights and strong credit ratings. Further, it makes systematic investments to strengthen existing infrastructure. In addition, new water rates will help to boost its margins. American Sates Water’s major drawback is its dependence on a single state, California, for the majority of its earnings. Plus its highly regulated operations and risk of water contamination leading to increase in operating costs could adversely impact results.”

AWR has been the subject of a number of other research reports. BidaskClub downgraded shares of American States Water from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Sunday, July 16th. Wells Fargo & Company upped their price target on shares of American States Water from $46.00 to $48.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 3rd. Finally, US Capital Advisors reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of American States Water in a research note on Monday, July 17th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating, one has assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $51.00.

Shares of American States Water (NYSE AWR) opened at 53.96 on Monday. The firm has a market cap of $1.98 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 29.12 and a beta of 0.45. American States Water has a 52-week low of $38.21 and a 52-week high of $56.31. The company’s 50-day moving average is $51.65 and its 200 day moving average is $48.48.

American States Water (NYSE:AWR) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.62 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.45 by $0.17. The company had revenue of $113.20 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $119.23 million. American States Water had a net margin of 15.44% and a return on equity of 13.70%. American States Water’s quarterly revenue was up 1.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.45 EPS. On average, analysts expect that American States Water will post $1.70 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In other American States Water news, Director Lloyd E. Ross sold 600 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, October 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.72, for a total value of $31,032.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CEO Robert J. Sprowls sold 9,586 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.01, for a total transaction of $488,981.86. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 111,454 shares in the company, valued at $5,685,268.54. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 32,605 shares of company stock worth $1,572,067. 1.49% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Riverhead Capital Management LLC lifted its holdings in American States Water by 85.4% in the 2nd quarter. Riverhead Capital Management LLC now owns 2,596 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $123,000 after purchasing an additional 1,196 shares in the last quarter. Bruderman Asset Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of American States Water during the 2nd quarter worth about $127,000. IndexIQ Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of American States Water during the 2nd quarter worth about $166,000. Advisor Group Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of American States Water by 16.3% during the 2nd quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 4,339 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $205,000 after acquiring an additional 609 shares during the period. Finally, Meeder Asset Management Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of American States Water by 328.5% during the 3rd quarter. Meeder Asset Management Inc. now owns 4,208 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $207,000 after acquiring an additional 3,226 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 65.25% of the company’s stock.

About American States Water

American States Water Company (AWR) is a holding company. The Company is the parent company of Golden State Water Company (GSWC) and American States Utility Services, Inc (ASUS), as well as ASUS’ subsidiaries, such as Fort Bliss Water Services Company (FBWS), Terrapin Utility Services, Inc (TUS), Old Dominion Utility Services, Inc (ODUS), Palmetto State Utility Services, Inc (PSUS) and Old North Utility Services, Inc (ONUS).

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