Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note released on Wednesday morning, Zacks.com reports. The firm currently has $95.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Duke Energy's share have outperformed its industry in past 12 months. Duke Energy strongly focuses on expanding its scale of operations and implement modern technologies at the company’s facilities by investing heavily in infrastructure and expansion projects. The company expects to invest about $37 billion in its overall growth projects during the 2019-2023 period. This investment plan will drive earnings base growth in the company’s combined electric and gas businesses by approximately 6%, over the next five years. However, massive debt levels can turn out to be a major headwind for the company. Currently, Duke Energy’s strategy includes generation of cleaner energy, due to which it is anticipated to incur environmental compliance cost of $2.78 billion for the 2019-2023 period. Such costs may dampen its bottom-line growth.”

DUK has been the subject of a number of other research reports. KeyCorp started coverage on shares of Duke Energy in a report on Tuesday, June 4th. They issued a sector weight rating for the company. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Duke Energy from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, April 3rd. Barclays cut their price objective on shares of Duke Energy from $96.00 to $94.00 and set an equal weight rating for the company in a report on Tuesday, June 18th. Bank of America increased their price objective on shares of Duke Energy from $89.00 to $91.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a report on Monday, March 11th. Finally, Morgan Stanley increased their price objective on shares of Duke Energy from $94.00 to $96.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a report on Thursday, May 16th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company. Duke Energy presently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $89.10.

DUK opened at $87.98 on Wednesday. Duke Energy has a twelve month low of $77.90 and a twelve month high of $91.67. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.25, a quick ratio of 0.49 and a current ratio of 0.75. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $87.47. The firm has a market cap of $65.61 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.64, a PEG ratio of 3.79 and a beta of 0.13.

Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 9th. The utilities provider reported $1.24 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.21 by $0.03. Duke Energy had a net margin of 12.00% and a return on equity of 7.70%. The firm had revenue of $6.16 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $6.39 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.28 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up .5% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, sell-side analysts expect that Duke Energy will post 4.91 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, June 17th. Stockholders of record on Friday, May 17th were paid a $0.9275 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, May 16th. This represents a $3.71 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.22%. Duke Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 78.60%.

In other news, SVP Dwight L. Jacobs sold 1,700 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.92, for a total value of $146,064.00. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now owns 6,091 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $523,338.72. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, EVP Lloyd M. Yates sold 5,117 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $88.20, for a total transaction of $451,319.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 8,598 shares of company stock valued at $752,989. Corporate insiders own 0.09% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of DUK. Advisors Asset Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Duke Energy by 2.7% in the 4th quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. now owns 237,561 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $20,502,000 after acquiring an additional 6,325 shares in the last quarter. Catalyst Capital Advisors LLC bought a new position in shares of Duke Energy in the 4th quarter worth approximately $2,166,000. LPL Financial LLC raised its position in shares of Duke Energy by 5.7% in the 4th quarter. LPL Financial LLC now owns 508,505 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $43,884,000 after acquiring an additional 27,284 shares in the last quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC raised its position in shares of Duke Energy by 1,231.0% in the 4th quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC now owns 53,851 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $4,648,000 after acquiring an additional 49,805 shares in the last quarter. Finally, PNC Financial Services Group Inc. raised its position in shares of Duke Energy by 134.0% in the 4th quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 1,372,614 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $118,457,000 after acquiring an additional 785,941 shares in the last quarter. 60.16% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Duke Energy Company Profile

Duke Energy Corp. engages in distribution of natural gas and energy related services. It operates through the following segments: Electric Utilities and Infrastructure, Gas Utilities and Infrastructure, and Commercial Renewables. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure segment conducts operations primarily through the regulated public utilities of Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress, Duke Energy Florida, Duke Energy Indiana and Duke Energy Ohio.

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