Wells Fargo & Company Upgrades Aqua America, Inc. (NYSE:WTR) to Outperform

Wells Fargo & Company upgraded shares of Aqua America, Inc. (NYSE:WTR) from a market perform rating to an outperform rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday, October 19th, MarketBeat.com reports. The firm currently has $40.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock.

“tuck-in” M&A arena and expectations for a constructive outcome in the upcoming PA rate relief case.As such, the firm upgraded shares of Aqua America from Market Perform to Outperform and raised its price target from $35 to $40.At the time of writing, shares of Aqua America were up 1.53 percent at $35.84.Analysts Jonathan Reeder, Neil Kalton and Sarah Akers said they are now increasingly convinced that potentially pursuing growth outside of the regulated water/wastewater space, namely gas LDC purchase or a non-regulated venture, is on the backburner for now.Instead, the analysts said the company is focused on capitalizing on the budding opportunities in the “tuck-in,” the firm’s analyst wrote.

Several other equities analysts have also recently weighed in on WTR. Zacks Investment Research cut Aqua America from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Tuesday, July 4th. BidaskClub cut Aqua America from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, July 6th. Robert W. Baird restated a hold rating and issued a $32.00 price objective on shares of Aqua America in a report on Friday, August 25th. Boenning Scattergood reiterated an outperform rating on shares of Aqua America in a report on Tuesday, September 5th. Finally, Barclays PLC lifted their price target on Aqua America from $36.00 to $38.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a report on Friday, September 22nd. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $37.00.

Aqua America (NYSE:WTR) opened at 35.62 on Thursday. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $34.30 and a 200-day moving average price of $33.40. Aqua America has a 12-month low of $28.03 and a 12-month high of $36.27. The stock has a market capitalization of $6.33 billion, a P/E ratio of 27.19 and a beta of 0.54.

Aqua America (NYSE:WTR) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.34 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.34. The firm had revenue of $203.40 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $208.28 million. Aqua America had a return on equity of 12.51% and a net margin of 28.59%. The company’s revenue was down .2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.33 EPS. Equities research analysts expect that Aqua America will post $1.36 EPS for the current year.

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The business also recently disclosed a dec 17 dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 1st. Shareholders of record on Friday, November 17th will be given a dividend of $0.2047 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, November 16th. This represents a yield of 2.3%. Aqua America’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 62.60%.

In other news, insider Robert A. Rubin sold 12,499 shares of Aqua America stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, September 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $34.46, for a total value of $430,715.54. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 80,604 shares in the company, valued at $2,777,613.84. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. 0.25% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Boulegeris Investments Inc. increased its stake in Aqua America by 24.1% in the second quarter. Boulegeris Investments Inc. now owns 17,754 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $591,000 after acquiring an additional 3,450 shares during the last quarter. Crow Point Partners LLC bought a new position in Aqua America in the third quarter valued at approximately $556,000. Geode Capital Management LLC increased its stake in Aqua America by 7.3% in the first quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 1,397,830 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $44,940,000 after acquiring an additional 95,204 shares during the last quarter. Blair William & Co. IL bought a new stake in shares of Aqua America during the second quarter worth $832,000. Finally, Baillie Gifford & Co. grew its stake in shares of Aqua America by 1.3% during the second quarter. Baillie Gifford & Co. now owns 397,525 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $13,237,000 after buying an additional 5,207 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 50.95% of the company’s stock.

Aqua America Company Profile

Aqua America, Inc is a holding company. The Company is engaged in providing water or wastewater services concentrated in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, North Carolina, New Jersey, Indiana and Virginia. The Company is the holding company for its primary subsidiary, Aqua Pennsylvania, Inc Its market-based activities are conducted through Aqua Resources, Inc (Aqua Resources) and Aqua Infrastructure, LLC (Aqua Infrastructure).

Analyst Recommendations for Aqua America (NYSE:WTR)

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