Zacks Investment Research Lowers NorthWestern (NWE) to Sell

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Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of NorthWestern (NYSE:NWE) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report released on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “NorthWestern Energy is a growing, financially sound, investor-owned energy company. It has provided reliable and affordable energy to customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. The company got its start in small communities, providing essential service that allowed them to grow and prosper. “

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on NWE. ValuEngine upgraded NorthWestern from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Monday, July 2nd. Barclays started coverage on NorthWestern in a report on Tuesday, July 10th. They set an equal weight rating and a $60.00 price objective for the company. Credit Suisse Group boosted their price objective on NorthWestern from $54.00 to $55.00 and gave the stock a $58.28 rating in a report on Thursday, July 19th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co boosted their price objective on NorthWestern from $59.00 to $61.00 and gave the stock a market perform rating in a report on Monday, September 17th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company. NorthWestern presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $59.60.

Shares of NYSE:NWE traded up $0.71 during trading on Wednesday, reaching $60.75. 278,916 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 316,635. NorthWestern has a 12 month low of $50.01 and a 12 month high of $64.47. The stock has a market cap of $3.02 billion, a PE ratio of 18.41, a P/E/G ratio of 7.69 and a beta of 0.08. The company has a quick ratio of 0.62, a current ratio of 0.77 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.07.

NorthWestern (NYSE:NWE) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 19th. The utilities provider reported $0.87 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.44 by $0.43. NorthWestern had a return on equity of 10.28% and a net margin of 14.84%. The company had revenue of $261.82 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $286.14 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.47 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was down 7.8% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts expect that NorthWestern will post 3.45 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 28th. Investors of record on Friday, September 14th were paid a $0.55 dividend. This represents a $2.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.62%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, September 13th. NorthWestern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 66.67%.

In related news, VP Curtis T. Pohl sold 1,200 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.73, for a total value of $70,476.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Insiders own 1.40% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC bought a new stake in shares of NorthWestern in the second quarter valued at approximately $132,000. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Alberta as represented by Alberta Investment Management Corp bought a new stake in shares of NorthWestern in the second quarter valued at approximately $235,000. Hartford Investment Management Co. bought a new stake in shares of NorthWestern in the second quarter valued at approximately $248,000. Nomura Holdings Inc. bought a new stake in shares of NorthWestern in the second quarter valued at approximately $264,000. Finally, Cypress Wealth Services LLC bought a new stake in shares of NorthWestern in the second quarter valued at approximately $275,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 95.31% of the company’s stock.

NorthWestern Company Profile

NorthWestern Corporation, doing business as NorthWestern Energy, provides electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, and industrial customers. The company operates through Electric Operations and Natural Gas Operations segments. It generates, transmits, and distributes electricity; and produces, stores, transmits, and distributes natural gas, as well as owns municipal franchises to provide natural gas service in the communities.

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Analyst Recommendations for NorthWestern (NYSE:NWE)

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