PPL (PPL) Lifted to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of PPL (NYSE:PPL) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report published on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “PPL Corporation is poised to gain from its capital investment plan that primarily focuses on infrastructure construction projects for generation, transmission and distribution. It has reestablished its hedge levels to shield itself from any near-term decline in the GBP. PPL Corp’s earnings are expected to improve annually by 5-6% in the 2018-2020 period, thanks to the contribution from its domestic operations. However, in last three months, loss in the value of PPL Corporation’s shares was wider compared with the industry. Stringent emission regulation, high debt levels amid rising interest rates and risks of unplanned outage of power plants are some of the headwinds of the company.”

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Other equities analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. ValuEngine upgraded shares of PPL from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Thursday, January 11th. UBS restated a buy rating and issued a $36.00 target price (down previously from $37.00) on shares of PPL in a report on Friday, February 23rd. SunTrust Banks set a $37.00 target price on shares of PPL and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Monday, February 12th. Canaccord Genuity restated a buy rating and issued a $48.00 target price on shares of PPL in a report on Thursday, November 30th. Finally, TheStreet lowered shares of PPL from a b- rating to a c+ rating in a report on Thursday, January 18th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $37.50.

PPL stock opened at $27.13 on Wednesday. The company has a market cap of $18,892.04, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.54, a PEG ratio of 1.96 and a beta of 0.54. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.84, a quick ratio of 0.49 and a current ratio of 0.57. PPL has a fifty-two week low of $27.08 and a fifty-two week high of $40.20.

PPL (NYSE:PPL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 22nd. The utilities provider reported $0.55 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.48 by $0.07. The company had revenue of $1.93 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.03 billion. PPL had a net margin of 15.15% and a return on equity of 14.75%. PPL’s revenue was up 5.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.60 earnings per share. research analysts forecast that PPL will post 2.32 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 2nd. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 9th will be issued a dividend of $0.41 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 8th. This represents a $1.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 6.04%. This is a positive change from PPL’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.40. PPL’s dividend payout ratio is currently 100.00%.

In other news, Chairman Victor A. Staffieri sold 19,524 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, January 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $31.60, for a total transaction of $616,958.40. Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 29,084 shares in the company, valued at $919,054.40. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, SVP Joanne H. Raphael sold 2,205 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, February 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $29.19, for a total transaction of $64,363.95. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 16,799 shares in the company, valued at approximately $490,362.81. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 52,978 shares of company stock worth $1,652,939 in the last quarter. Company insiders own 0.40% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC raised its holdings in shares of PPL by 1.9% during the third quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 1,784,213 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $67,711,000 after purchasing an additional 33,483 shares during the period. California Public Employees Retirement System raised its holdings in shares of PPL by 8.4% during the third quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 1,825,189 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $69,266,000 after purchasing an additional 140,670 shares during the period. Cornerstone Capital Management Holdings LLC. raised its holdings in shares of PPL by 34.2% during the third quarter. Cornerstone Capital Management Holdings LLC. now owns 187,554 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $7,117,000 after purchasing an additional 47,827 shares during the period. Rothschild Investment Corp IL raised its holdings in shares of PPL by 33.8% during the fourth quarter. Rothschild Investment Corp IL now owns 13,250 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $410,000 after purchasing an additional 3,350 shares during the period. Finally, KBC Group NV raised its holdings in shares of PPL by 5.0% during the third quarter. KBC Group NV now owns 76,705 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,911,000 after purchasing an additional 3,633 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 71.44% of the company’s stock.

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About PPL

PPL Corporation, a utility holding company, delivers electricity and natural gas in the United States and the United Kingdom. The company operates in three segments: U.K. Regulated, Kentucky Regulated, and Pennsylvania Regulated. It serves 411,000 electric and 326,000 natural gas customers in Louisville and adjacent areas in Kentucky; 525,000 customers in central, southeastern, and western Kentucky; and approximately 28,000 customers in 5 counties in southwestern Virginia, and 3 customers in Tennessee.

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