NiSource (NI) Stock Rating Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research

NiSource (NYSE:NI) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of NiSource have gained against industry's decline in the last 12 months. NiSource’s fourth-quarter earnings and total revenues were better than expected as the company continues to add customers and gain from it.  NiSource is benefiting from continued execution of its infrastructure investment strategy.  NiSource will annually invest nearly $1.6-$1.8 billion in planned utility infrastructures through 2020 and has identified long-term infrastructure investments worth $30 billion. The company is also working actively to reduce its carbon footprint by bringing down the coal usage. Despite investing in upgrade programs, NiSource Inc. faces the risk of disruption in operation from its ageing infrastructure. NiSource’s rising debt level is another concern.”

NI has been the subject of a number of other reports. Credit Suisse Group raised their price objective on shares of NiSource from $29.00 to $30.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, November 2nd. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reduced their price objective on shares of NiSource from $28.00 to $25.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, January 25th. Edward Jones upgraded shares of NiSource from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 9th. Goldman Sachs Group upgraded shares of NiSource from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $23.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Wednesday, January 10th. Finally, Jefferies Group restated a “hold” rating and set a $26.00 price objective on shares of NiSource in a research note on Wednesday, December 20th. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company. NiSource has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $27.14.

NiSource (NYSE NI) opened at $23.06 on Wednesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.72, a current ratio of 0.52 and a quick ratio of 0.32. The stock has a market cap of $7,907.92, a PE ratio of 28.05, a P/E/G ratio of 2.78 and a beta of 0.24. NiSource has a 12 month low of $22.44 and a 12 month high of $27.76.

NiSource (NYSE:NI) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 20th. The utilities provider reported $0.33 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.32 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $1.37 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.35 billion. NiSource had a net margin of 5.61% and a return on equity of 8.97%. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.33 EPS. analysts anticipate that NiSource will post 1.19 earnings per share for the current year.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. BlackRock Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of NiSource by 4.6% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 24,779,376 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $636,086,000 after acquiring an additional 1,093,752 shares during the last quarter. Millennium Management LLC boosted its holdings in shares of NiSource by 38.6% during the 4th quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 3,591,733 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $92,200,000 after acquiring an additional 999,678 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC boosted its holdings in shares of NiSource by 7.0% during the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 3,561,143 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $91,226,000 after acquiring an additional 234,175 shares during the last quarter. Maple Brown Abbott Ltd boosted its holdings in shares of NiSource by 36.9% during the 4th quarter. Maple Brown Abbott Ltd now owns 3,451,218 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $88,593,000 after acquiring an additional 930,314 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Commonwealth Bank of Australia boosted its holdings in shares of NiSource by 3.1% during the 3rd quarter. Commonwealth Bank of Australia now owns 3,350,014 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $85,422,000 after acquiring an additional 102,242 shares during the last quarter. 84.38% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About NiSource

NiSource Inc is an energy holding company. The Company is engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Company operates through two business segments: Gas Distribution Operations and Electric Operations. The Company’s Gas Distribution Operations segment provides natural gas service and transportation for residential, commercial and industrial customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Indiana and Massachusetts.

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