Westar Energy (WR) Upgraded to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) from a sell rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Thursday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $59.00 price objective on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Westar Energy, Inc. is Kansas’ largest electric utility. Westar has 7,200 MW of electric generation capacity fueled by coal, uranium, natural gas, wind and landfill gas. They are a leader in electric transmission in Kansas. Their innovative customer service programs include mobile-enabled customer care, digital meters and paving the way for electric vehicle adoption. “

A number of other equities research analysts have also weighed in on WR. TheStreet lowered shares of Westar Energy from a b rating to a c+ rating in a report on Thursday, February 22nd. UBS started coverage on shares of Westar Energy in a report on Friday, February 2nd. They set a neutral rating and a $55.00 price target for the company. Finally, JPMorgan Chase lowered their price target on shares of Westar Energy from $62.00 to $56.00 and set an overweight rating for the company in a report on Thursday, January 25th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Westar Energy has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $55.67.

Shares of WR stock traded up $0.33 during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching $54.19. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 101,835 shares, compared to its average volume of 690,899. Westar Energy has a 12-month low of $47.06 and a 12-month high of $57.32. The company has a current ratio of 0.88, a quick ratio of 0.53 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.98. The company has a market cap of $7,545.46, a PE ratio of 23.37, a P/E/G ratio of 5.72 and a beta of 0.30.

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, February 21st. The utilities provider reported $0.24 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.40 by ($0.16). Westar Energy had a net margin of 12.60% and a return on equity of 8.40%. The business had revenue of $595.00 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $642.02 million. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.38 EPS. The business’s revenue was down 1.8% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts expect that Westar Energy will post 2.52 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, April 2nd. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 9th were issued a dividend of $0.40 per share. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.95%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, March 8th. Westar Energy’s dividend payout ratio is currently 70.48%.

In other Westar Energy news, CFO Anthony D. Somma sold 12,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, March 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.93, for a total transaction of $599,160.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CEO Mark A. Ruelle sold 29,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, March 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.02, for a total transaction of $1,505,090.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 56,007 shares of company stock valued at $2,845,359. 0.70% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of WR. BRITISH COLUMBIA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT Corp raised its position in shares of Westar Energy by 11.1% during the 4th quarter. BRITISH COLUMBIA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT Corp now owns 74,960 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,958,000 after buying an additional 7,470 shares in the last quarter. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of Westar Energy in the 4th quarter worth approximately $4,745,000. Gotham Asset Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Westar Energy in the 4th quarter worth approximately $296,000. MainStreet Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of Westar Energy in the 4th quarter worth approximately $375,000. Finally, Vident Investment Advisory LLC grew its stake in shares of Westar Energy by 80.6% in the 4th quarter. Vident Investment Advisory LLC now owns 14,687 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $775,000 after purchasing an additional 6,555 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 74.65% of the company’s stock.

Westar Energy Company Profile

Westar Energy, Inc, an electric utility company, generates, transmits, and distributes electricity in Kansas. It has 6,602 megawatts of electric generation capacity, which generates electricity through coal, nuclear fuels, natural gas/diesel, and renewable sources. The company also owns approximately 6,400 miles of transmission lines, 24,200 miles of overhead distribution lines, and 5,100 miles of underground distribution lines.

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Analyst Recommendations for Westar Energy (NYSE:WR)

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