Southwest Gas (SWX) Raised to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Southwest Gas (NYSE:SWX) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Friday morning. They currently have $90.00 price objective on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc. is an energy holding company based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc. owns two primary operating companies, Southwest Gas Corporation and Centuri Construction Group, Inc. Southwest Gas Corporation is a regulated utility and provides natural gas service to more than 1.9 million residential, commercial, and industrial customers in most of Arizona and Nevada, and parts of northeastern and southeastern California. Centuri Construction Group, Inc., is a full-service underground piping contractor that primarily provides utility companies with trenching and installation, replacement, and maintenance services for energy distribution systems, and develops industrial construction solutions. Centuri Construction Group Inc. operates in major markets across the United States and Canada. “

SWX has been the subject of a number of other reports. Jefferies Group reissued a hold rating and set a $70.00 price objective on shares of Southwest Gas in a research report on Monday, October 16th. UBS Group raised Southwest Gas from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $85.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Tuesday, December 19th. KeyCorp restated a hold rating on shares of Southwest Gas in a research note on Friday, October 20th. Finally, Citigroup boosted their target price on Southwest Gas from $79.00 to $82.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research note on Monday, November 20th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $83.00.

Shares of Southwest Gas (NYSE:SWX) traded down $0.29 during trading on Friday, hitting $78.84. The stock had a trading volume of 158,800 shares, compared to its average volume of 162,675. Southwest Gas has a 1-year low of $72.32 and a 1-year high of $86.87. The firm has a market capitalization of $3,763.18, a P/E ratio of 23.19, a PEG ratio of 3.72 and a beta of 0.61. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.01, a quick ratio of 0.82 and a current ratio of 0.82.

Southwest Gas (NYSE:SWX) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, November 7th. The utilities provider reported $0.21 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.14 by $0.07. Southwest Gas had a return on equity of 9.56% and a net margin of 6.64%. The business had revenue of $593.15 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $579.40 million. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.05 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.8% on a year-over-year basis. analysts forecast that Southwest Gas will post 3.38 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 1st. Investors of record on Thursday, February 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.495 per share. This represents a $1.98 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.51%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, February 14th. Southwest Gas’s payout ratio is 58.24%.

In other Southwest Gas news, VP Gregory J. Peterson sold 1,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $85.72, for a total value of $85,720.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, SVP Eric Debonis sold 3,520 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $82.18, for a total value of $289,273.60. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now owns 16,060 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,319,810.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 5,120 shares of company stock valued at $423,096. 0.99% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank lifted its stake in Southwest Gas by 7.3% in the second quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 1,725 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $126,000 after buying an additional 118 shares during the last quarter. Flinton Capital Management LLC lifted its stake in Southwest Gas by 69.7% in the second quarter. Flinton Capital Management LLC now owns 2,416 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $177,000 after buying an additional 992 shares during the last quarter. Ashfield Capital Partners LLC purchased a new stake in Southwest Gas in the third quarter valued at approximately $212,000. Riverhead Capital Management LLC lifted its stake in Southwest Gas by 74.8% in the second quarter. Riverhead Capital Management LLC now owns 2,797 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $204,000 after buying an additional 1,197 shares during the last quarter. Finally, CIBC Asset Management Inc purchased a new stake in Southwest Gas in the third quarter valued at approximately $238,000. Institutional investors own 77.41% of the company’s stock.

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About Southwest Gas

Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc, formerly Southwest Gas Corporation, is engaged in the business of purchasing, distributing and transporting natural gas. The Company operates through two segments: natural gas operations and construction services, which includes the operations of the Company’s subsidiary, Centuri Construction Group, Inc (Centuri).

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