National Fuel Gas (NFG) Upgraded to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of National Fuel Gas (NYSE:NFG) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report published on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Shares of National Fuel Gas have outperformed its industry over the past 12 months. National Fuel Gas’ first-quarter earnings per share and total revenues surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate due to strong contribution from all the segments. The company’s systematic capital expenditure helped it to strengthen operation and production in the Appalachian region. It is expanding its midstream operation to provide support by transporting and storing higher volume of natural gas. The company has a long history of rewarding its shareholders through dividend payments. However, National Fuel Gas depends on credit market to fund its large projects and the rising interest rates will increase the cost of the ongoing capital projects, impacting margins.  Adherence to stringent regulation relating to natural gas drilling, fluctuation in natural gas prices, weather variation in its service territories and competitive natural gas are headwinds.”

NFG has been the topic of several other research reports. TheStreet raised National Fuel Gas from a c+ rating to a b rating in a report on Monday, December 10th. ValuEngine lowered National Fuel Gas from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Friday, November 2nd. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $60.00.

Shares of NYSE:NFG opened at $58.18 on Friday. National Fuel Gas has a 1-year low of $48.43 and a 1-year high of $59.15. The company has a market cap of $5.02 billion, a PE ratio of 17.42, a PEG ratio of 5.92 and a beta of 0.85. The company has a current ratio of 1.25, a quick ratio of 1.09 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.04.

National Fuel Gas (NYSE:NFG) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 31st. The oil and gas producer reported $1.12 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.07 by $0.05. National Fuel Gas had a return on equity of 15.26% and a net margin of 17.77%. The company had revenue of $490.25 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $477.76 million. Research analysts expect that National Fuel Gas will post 3.51 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 15th. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 31st were issued a dividend of $0.425 per share. This represents a $1.70 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.92%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, December 28th. National Fuel Gas’s payout ratio is presently 50.90%.

In related news, Director David F. Smith sold 9,700 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.24, for a total value of $564,928.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 363,168 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $21,150,904.32. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. 2.30% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in National Fuel Gas by 7.7% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 8,478,951 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock valued at $475,330,000 after purchasing an additional 607,091 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc raised its position in National Fuel Gas by 7.7% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 8,478,951 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock valued at $475,330,000 after purchasing an additional 607,091 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in National Fuel Gas by 4.9% in the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 7,887,052 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock valued at $403,661,000 after purchasing an additional 365,622 shares during the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its position in National Fuel Gas by 1.8% in the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 4,426,222 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock valued at $248,134,000 after purchasing an additional 79,349 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund raised its position in National Fuel Gas by 5,018.0% in the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 1,732,750 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock valued at $34,000 after purchasing an additional 1,698,894 shares during the last quarter. 74.32% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

National Fuel Gas Company Profile

National Fuel Gas Company operates as a diversified energy company. It operates through five segments: Exploration and Production, Pipeline and Storage, Gathering, Utility, and Energy Marketing. The Exploration and Production segment explores for, develops, and produces natural gas and oil in California and in the Appalachian region of the United States.

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