Northwest Natural (NYSE:NWN) Cut to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Northwest Natural (NYSE:NWN) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Friday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Northwest Natural Holding Company builds and maintains natural gas distribution systems, as well as invests in natural gas pipeline projects through its subsidiaries. It serves residential, commercial and industrial customers primarily in the United States, Canada and Service Territory. Northwest Natural Holding Company, formerly known as NW Natural Gas Company, is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. “

Separately, Maxim Group reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $72.00 price objective on shares of Northwest Natural in a research note on Thursday, June 6th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Northwest Natural currently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $66.50.

Northwest Natural stock opened at $71.04 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $2.06 billion, a PE ratio of 30.49, a PEG ratio of 6.66 and a beta of 0.33. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $69.25. Northwest Natural has a 52 week low of $57.20 and a 52 week high of $72.01. The company has a current ratio of 0.52, a quick ratio of 0.48 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.80.

Northwest Natural (NYSE:NWN) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, May 7th. The utilities provider reported $1.73 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.45 by $0.28. Northwest Natural had a return on equity of 9.86% and a net margin of 9.10%. The firm had revenue of $285.30 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $250.06 million. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.39 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 8.2% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts predict that Northwest Natural will post 2.37 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, August 15th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, July 31st will be paid a $0.475 dividend. This represents a $1.90 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.67%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, July 30th. Northwest Natural’s dividend payout ratio is currently 81.55%.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in NWN. Tompkins Financial Corp acquired a new position in shares of Northwest Natural in the 1st quarter valued at about $29,000. Quadrant Capital Group LLC raised its holdings in shares of Northwest Natural by 120.9% during the 1st quarter. Quadrant Capital Group LLC now owns 720 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $45,000 after buying an additional 394 shares during the period. Enterprise Financial Services Corp raised its holdings in shares of Northwest Natural by 3,479.5% during the 1st quarter. Enterprise Financial Services Corp now owns 1,396 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $92,000 after buying an additional 1,357 shares during the period. Quantamental Technologies LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Northwest Natural during the 1st quarter valued at about $92,000. Finally, NumerixS Investment Technologies Inc raised its holdings in shares of Northwest Natural by 250.0% during the 1st quarter. NumerixS Investment Technologies Inc now owns 1,400 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $92,000 after buying an additional 1,000 shares during the period. 69.06% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Northwest Natural

Northwest Natural Holding Company, through its subsidiary, Northwest Natural Gas Company, provides regulated natural gas distribution services to residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. It is also involved in the gas storage activities, water businesses, and other investments and activities.

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