Northwest Natural Holding (NYSE:NWN) Short Interest Down 22.2% in March


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Northwest Natural Holding (NYSE:NWN) was the target of a significant decline in short interest in March. As of March 31st, there was short interest totalling 933,700 shares, a decline of 22.2% from the March 15th total of 1,200,000 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 385,200 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 2.4 days. Currently, 3.1% of the company’s shares are sold short.

In other news, SVP Mardilyn Saathoff sold 1,531 shares of Northwest Natural stock in a transaction on Thursday, April 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.33, for a total value of $81,648.23. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 16,056 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $856,266.48. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, VP Shawn M. Filippi sold 600 shares of Northwest Natural stock in a transaction on Monday, March 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $48.23, for a total value of $28,938.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 2,211 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $106,636.53. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 3,631 shares of company stock valued at $183,081 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 1.14% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in NWN. FMR LLC boosted its position in shares of Northwest Natural by 757.4% during the 1st quarter. FMR LLC now owns 5,273 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $346,000 after acquiring an additional 4,658 shares in the last quarter. Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC acquired a new position in shares of Northwest Natural during the 3rd quarter worth about $839,000. Schonfeld Strategic Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of Northwest Natural during the 3rd quarter worth about $241,000. Jane Street Group LLC acquired a new position in shares of Northwest Natural during the 3rd quarter worth about $213,000. Finally, Paloma Partners Management Co acquired a new position in shares of Northwest Natural during the 3rd quarter worth about $322,000. 71.55% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

A number of equities research analysts have recently weighed in on the company. Zacks Investment Research cut Northwest Natural from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday. TheStreet raised Northwest Natural from a “c” rating to a “b-” rating in a research note on Wednesday, March 10th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $54.20.

NWN traded up $0.93 on Tuesday, hitting $55.88. 7,608 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 370,268. Northwest Natural has a twelve month low of $41.71 and a twelve month high of $67.24. The company has a market cap of $1.71 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 27.34, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 5.63 and a beta of 0.44. The company has a current ratio of 0.44, a quick ratio of 0.36 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.01. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $52.74 and a two-hundred day moving average price of $48.20.

Northwest Natural (NYSE:NWN) last released its earnings results on Thursday, February 25th. The utilities provider reported $1.50 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.49 by $0.01. Northwest Natural had a return on equity of 7.17% and a net margin of 8.08%. The firm had revenue of $260.30 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $272.82 million. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.20 EPS. Northwest Natural’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.3% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts expect that Northwest Natural will post 2.26 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, May 14th. Stockholders of record on Friday, April 30th will be given a dividend of $0.48 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, April 29th. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.44%. Northwest Natural’s dividend payout ratio is currently 87.67%.

Northwest Natural Company Profile

Northwest Natural Holding Company, through its subsidiary, Northwest Natural Gas Company, provides regulated natural gas distribution services to residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation customers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. The company also owns and operates 20 Bcf of underground gas storage capacity in Oregon.

Further Reading: Net Margin

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