Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Spire (NYSE:SR) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note released on Thursday morning, Zacks.com reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $85.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock.
According to Zacks, “Spire Inc. is a public utility company which is engaged in the purchase, retail distribution, sale and marketing of natural gas. Its operating segment consists of Gas Utility and Gas Marketing. Gas Utility segment includes the regulated operations of Laclede Gas and Alabama Gas Corporation. Gas Marketing segment is engaged in the marketing of natural gas and related activities on a non-regulated basis. Spire Inc, formerly known as The Laclede Group Inc., is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. “
SR has been the topic of several other research reports. Morgan Stanley raised their price objective on Spire from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a report on Thursday, March 25th. Guggenheim upgraded shares of Spire from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $72.00 price objective for the company in a report on Wednesday, January 20th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded shares of Spire from a neutral rating to an overweight rating and dropped their price target for the stock from $69.00 to $67.00 in a research note on Friday, January 29th. Wells Fargo & Company restated an equal weight rating and issued a $69.00 target price (down from $70.00) on shares of Spire in a report on Wednesday, March 10th. Finally, TheStreet raised Spire from a c+ rating to a b rating in a research report on Thursday, February 11th. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the company. Spire currently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $73.30.
Spire (NYSE:SR) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 4th. The utilities provider reported $1.42 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.32 by $0.10. Spire had a return on equity of 8.88% and a net margin of 4.76%. The company had revenue of $512.60 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $592.36 million. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.33 EPS. Spire’s revenue for the quarter was down 9.6% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, research analysts forecast that Spire will post 4.08 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, April 2nd. Stockholders of record on Thursday, March 11th were issued a $0.65 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, March 10th. This represents a $2.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.36%. Spire’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 69.15%.
A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. BlackRock Inc. grew its holdings in Spire by 2.9% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 5,943,963 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $380,653,000 after purchasing an additional 169,386 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its stake in Spire by 13.2% in the 4th quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 774,245 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $49,584,000 after acquiring an additional 90,024 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank bought a new position in Spire in the 4th quarter worth about $32,089,000. Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc. grew its stake in Spire by 2.8% in the 4th quarter. Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc. now owns 474,168 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $30,366,000 after acquiring an additional 12,795 shares in the last quarter. Finally, The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company grew its stake in Spire by 364.5% in the 4th quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 440,672 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $28,221,000 after acquiring an additional 345,802 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 78.08% of the company’s stock.
Spire Inc, through its subsidiaries, engages in the purchase, retail distribution, and sale of natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and other end-users of natural gas in the United States. The company operates in two segments, Gas Utility and Gas Marketing. It is also involved in the marketing of natural gas; and provision of energy services on non-regulated basis to on-system utility transportation customers, as well as to retail and wholesale customers.
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