Unitil Co. (NYSE:UTL) Given Consensus Recommendation of “Sell” by Brokerages

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Shares of Unitil Co. (NYSE:UTL) have been given an average broker rating score of 3.50 (Sell) from the two brokers that provide coverage for the stock, Zacks Investment Research reports. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and one has issued a hold rating on the company. Unitil’s rating score has declined by 40% in the last three months as a result of various analysts’ upgrades and downgrades.

Brokerages have set a one year consensus price target of $58.50 for the company and are forecasting that the company will post ($0.03) earnings per share for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Zacks has also given Unitil an industry rank of 93 out of 256 based on the ratings given to its competitors.

A number of analysts recently weighed in on the stock. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of IQE from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, April 4th. Janney Montgomery Scott cut shares of Unitil from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $59.79 target price for the company. in a report on Friday, June 28th.

Shares of Unitil stock traded down $0.23 on Thursday, hitting $59.02. The company had a trading volume of 2,521 shares, compared to its average volume of 53,222. The business has a 50-day simple moving average of $59.19. The company has a current ratio of 0.81, a quick ratio of 0.76 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.00. The stock has a market cap of $889.32 million, a P/E ratio of 26.48, a PEG ratio of 6.53 and a beta of 0.13. Unitil has a 52 week low of $46.21 and a 52 week high of $61.85.

Unitil (NYSE:UTL) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, April 25th. The utilities provider reported $1.12 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.35 by ($0.23). The company had revenue of $152.10 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $147.60 million. Unitil had a net margin of 9.75% and a return on equity of 9.63%. On average, equities analysts expect that Unitil will post 2.3 EPS for the current year.

In related news, VP Todd R. Black sold 500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.05, for a total value of $28,525.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 26,440 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,508,402. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 2.39% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Legal & General Group Plc lifted its position in Unitil by 9.9% in the 4th quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 2,596 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $132,000 after buying an additional 234 shares in the last quarter. First Manhattan Co. grew its stake in Unitil by 0.3% in the 1st quarter. First Manhattan Co. now owns 84,539 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $4,579,000 after buying an additional 250 shares during the last quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. grew its position in Unitil by 33.8% in the 4th quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 1,270 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $65,000 after purchasing an additional 321 shares during the last quarter. Boston Partners grew its position in Unitil by 2.4% in the 1st quarter. Boston Partners now owns 21,000 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,138,000 after purchasing an additional 500 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Citigroup Inc. grew its position in Unitil by 16.0% in the 4th quarter. Citigroup Inc. now owns 4,943 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $250,000 after purchasing an additional 681 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 66.99% of the company’s stock.

About Unitil

Unitil Corporation, a public utility holding company, engages in the distribution of electricity and natural gas in the United States. It operates through three segments: Utility Gas Operations, Utility Electric Operations, and Non-Regulated. The company distributes electricity in the southeastern seacoast and state capital regions of New Hampshire, and the greater Fitchburg area of north central Massachusetts; and distributes natural gas in southeastern New Hampshire, portions of southern Maine to the Lewiston-Auburn area, and in the greater Fitchburg area of north central Massachusetts.

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