American States Water (AWR) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of American States Water (NYSE:AWR) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Friday.

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

Other equities research analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. UBS assumed coverage on shares of American States Water in a research note on Thursday, March 8th. They issued a sell rating and a $42.00 price target on the stock. Wells Fargo downgraded shares of American States Water from a market perform rating to an underperform rating and set a $48.00 price target on the stock. in a research note on Monday, December 18th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $51.00.

American States Water (NYSE AWR) traded down $2.15 during trading on Friday, hitting $52.30. 419,555 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 289,821. The stock has a market cap of $1,999.16, a P/E ratio of 27.82, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 6.13 and a beta of 0.41. American States Water has a twelve month low of $43.08 and a twelve month high of $60.00. The company has a quick ratio of 0.96, a current ratio of 0.99 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61.

American States Water (NYSE:AWR) last released its quarterly earnings results on Monday, February 26th. The utilities provider reported $0.35 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.37 by ($0.02). The company had revenue of $104.18 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $121.02 million. American States Water had a net margin of 15.74% and a return on equity of 13.50%. American States Water’s revenue was down 2.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.30 earnings per share. equities research analysts forecast that American States Water will post 1.78 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, March 1st. Stockholders of record on Thursday, February 15th were paid a $0.255 dividend. This represents a $1.02 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.95%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, February 14th. American States Water’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 54.26%.

In other news, SVP James C. Cotton III sold 734 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.54, for a total value of $37,830.36. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 7,403 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $381,550.62. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Lloyd E. Ross sold 1,100 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, January 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $55.79, for a total transaction of $61,369.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 50,706 shares in the company, valued at $2,828,887.74. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 4,381 shares of company stock worth $229,966 over the last three months. Insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Segall Bryant & Hamill LLC increased its stake in American States Water by 8.8% during the 4th quarter. Segall Bryant & Hamill LLC now owns 107,891 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $6,248,000 after buying an additional 8,764 shares during the period. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in American States Water during the 4th quarter worth approximately $974,000. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan increased its stake in American States Water by 12.9% during the 4th quarter. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan now owns 15,510 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $898,000 after buying an additional 1,770 shares during the period. Macquarie Group Ltd. increased its stake in American States Water by 53.4% during the 4th quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 8,900 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $286,000 after buying an additional 3,100 shares during the period. Finally, Dean Capital Management purchased a new stake in American States Water during the 4th quarter worth approximately $2,870,000. 66.24% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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American States Water Company Profile

American States Water Company, through its subsidiaries, provides water and electric services to residential, industrial, and other customers in the United States. It operates through three segments: Water, Electric, and Contracted Services. The company purchases, produces, distributes, and sells water, as well as distributes electricity.

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