Westar Energy (WR) Upgraded to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Sunday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $57.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Westar Energy, Inc. is Kansas’ largest electric utility. Westar has 7,200 MW of electric generation capacity fueled by coal, uranium, natural gas, wind and landfill gas. They are a leader in electric transmission in Kansas. Their innovative customer service programs include mobile-enabled customer care, digital meters and paving the way for electric vehicle adoption. “

A number of other analysts also recently issued reports on the company. Wells Fargo & Co raised Westar Energy from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and set a $55.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Monday, October 2nd. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $58.00 target price on Westar Energy and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, October 12th. Finally, Bank of America assumed coverage on Westar Energy in a research report on Tuesday, October 24th. They issued a buy rating and a $57.00 target price on the stock. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $56.00.

Shares of Westar Energy (WR) traded down $0.13 during trading on Friday, hitting $50.95. The company had a trading volume of 467,500 shares, compared to its average volume of 608,546. The company has a current ratio of 1.07, a quick ratio of 0.65 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.97. Westar Energy has a twelve month low of $49.20 and a twelve month high of $57.32. The firm has a market capitalization of $7,239.70, a PE ratio of 21.14, a PEG ratio of 5.96 and a beta of 0.42.

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, October 31st. The utilities provider reported $1.11 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.20 by ($0.09). The business had revenue of $794.33 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $773.96 million. Westar Energy had a return on equity of 8.94% and a net margin of 13.32%. The business’s revenue was up 3.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.09 earnings per share. research analysts predict that Westar Energy will post 2.45 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 2nd. Investors of record on Friday, December 8th were given a $0.40 dividend. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.14%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 7th. Westar Energy’s dividend payout ratio is currently 66.39%.

In other Westar Energy news, CEO Mark A. Ruelle sold 37,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.35, for a total transaction of $2,010,950.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, VP Larry D. Irick sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.38, for a total value of $271,900.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 55,100 shares of company stock worth $2,991,312. 0.70% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Janus Henderson Group PLC grew its position in shares of Westar Energy by 8,831.1% in the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 1,169,889 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $62,028,000 after purchasing an additional 1,156,790 shares during the last quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. grew its position in shares of Westar Energy by 31.8% in the third quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 2,215,217 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $109,878,000 after purchasing an additional 533,878 shares during the last quarter. Balyasny Asset Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Westar Energy in the second quarter valued at approximately $27,810,000. JPMorgan Chase & Co. grew its position in shares of Westar Energy by 20.3% in the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 2,249,977 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $112,184,000 after purchasing an additional 379,131 shares during the last quarter. Finally, CNH Partners LLC grew its position in shares of Westar Energy by 8.2% in the second quarter. CNH Partners LLC now owns 3,428,377 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $181,773,000 after purchasing an additional 260,631 shares during the last quarter. 73.67% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Westar Energy Company Profile

Westar Energy, Inc is an electric utility. The Company provides electric generation, transmission and distribution services. The Company provides these services in central and northeastern Kansas, including the cities of Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan, Salina and Hutchinson. Its subsidiary, Kansas Gas and Electric Company (KGE), provides these services in south-central and southeastern Kansas, including the city of Wichita.

Analyst Recommendations for Westar Energy (NYSE:WR)

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