Zacks Investment Research Downgrades WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Monday, January 8th.

According to Zacks, “Shares of WEC Energy have outperformed the industry in the last 12 months. Thanks to ongoing improvement in economic conditions in its service territories, WEC Energy at present is serving more customers than the year-ago level. Its long-term investments in infrastructure projects will help it meet increasing customer demand and improve service reliability. The company has raised its annual dividend by 6.25%. However, it still produces a substantial volume of electricity from coal. Closure of old coal plants and completion of its ongoing capital projects will help WEC Energy to achieve its targeted emission reduction. In first nine months of 2017, electricity delivered to residential customers and large commercial and industrial customers declined from the year-ago period due to less favorable weather.”

Other analysts have also issued research reports about the company. Guggenheim reissued a buy rating and set a $73.00 price objective on shares of WEC Energy Group in a research note on Wednesday, January 3rd. KeyCorp reissued a hold rating on shares of WEC Energy Group in a research note on Friday, October 20th. Credit Suisse Group began coverage on WEC Energy Group in a research note on Thursday, December 7th. They issued a neutral rating and a $70.00 price target for the company. Finally, Bank of America raised their price target on WEC Energy Group from $69.00 to $71.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 15th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. WEC Energy Group has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $66.56.

WEC Energy Group (WEC) opened at $63.15 on Monday. The company has a quick ratio of 0.38, a current ratio of 0.60 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.96. The firm has a market cap of $20,080.08, a PE ratio of 20.77, a P/E/G ratio of 3.56 and a beta of 0.15. WEC Energy Group has a fifty-two week low of $56.05 and a fifty-two week high of $70.09.

WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The utilities provider reported $0.68 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.67 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $1.66 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.68 billion. WEC Energy Group had a net margin of 12.79% and a return on equity of 10.62%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.69 earnings per share. analysts predict that WEC Energy Group will post 3.09 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 1st. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, February 14th will be issued a dividend of $0.5525 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, February 13th. This is an increase from WEC Energy Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.52. This represents a $2.21 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.50%. WEC Energy Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 68.42%.

In other WEC Energy Group news, Chairman Gale E. Klappa sold 52,722 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $69.40, for a total transaction of $3,658,906.80. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, VP Scott J. Lauber sold 1,240 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.00, for a total value of $86,800.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.97% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Cable Hill Partners LLC increased its stake in WEC Energy Group by 3,307.8% in the 3rd quarter. Cable Hill Partners LLC now owns 1,738 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $109,000 after acquiring an additional 1,687 shares during the last quarter. Captrust Financial Advisors bought a new stake in WEC Energy Group in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $132,000. Sun Life Financial INC increased its stake in WEC Energy Group by 23,010.0% in the 2nd quarter. Sun Life Financial INC now owns 2,311 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $142,000 after acquiring an additional 2,301 shares during the last quarter. Evercore Wealth Management LLC increased its stake in WEC Energy Group by 9.4% in the 2nd quarter. Evercore Wealth Management LLC now owns 2,325 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $143,000 after acquiring an additional 200 shares during the last quarter. Finally, BB&T Investment Services Inc. bought a new stake in WEC Energy Group in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $150,000. 72.59% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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WEC Energy Group Company Profile

WEC Energy Group, Inc was a diversified holding company with natural gas and electric utility operations, an approximately 60% equity ownership interest in American Transmission Company LLC, and non-utility electric operations through its We Power business, as of December 31, 2016. Its segments include Wisconsin; Illinois; Other States; Electric Transmission; We Power, and Corporate and Other.

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