Spire (NYSE:SR) Lowered to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Spire (NYSE:SR) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Saturday, January 20th.

According to Zacks, “Spire Inc. is a public utility company which is engaged in the purchase, retail distribution, sale and marketing of natural gas. Its operating segment consists of Gas Utility and Gas Marketing. Gas Utility segment includes the regulated operations of Laclede Gas and Alabama Gas Corporation. Gas Marketing segment is engaged in the marketing of natural gas and related activities on a non-regulated basis. Spire Inc, formerly known as The Laclede Group Inc., is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. “

A number of other analysts have also recently weighed in on the company. ValuEngine cut Spire from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, December 1st. Morgan Stanley boosted their price target on Spire from $75.00 to $77.00 and gave the stock an underweight rating in a research report on Wednesday, December 13th. Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $73.00 price target on shares of Spire in a research report on Monday, October 16th. Stifel Nicolaus boosted their price target on Spire from $71.00 to $75.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, November 16th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted their price target on Spire from $71.00 to $75.00 and gave the stock an underweight rating in a research report on Thursday, October 12th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company. Spire has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $72.00.

Spire (NYSE SR) opened at $65.80 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.97, a current ratio of 0.70 and a quick ratio of 0.53. Spire has a 52 week low of $60.08 and a 52 week high of $82.85. The company has a market capitalization of $3,176.21, a PE ratio of 13.37, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.93 and a beta of 0.15.

Spire (NYSE:SR) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The utilities provider reported $1.19 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.06 by $0.13. Spire had a return on equity of 8.91% and a net margin of 12.86%. The firm had revenue of $561.80 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $516.16 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $1.04 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 13.5% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts forecast that Spire will post 3.72 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, April 3rd. Investors of record on Monday, March 12th will be given a dividend of $0.563 per share. This represents a $2.25 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.42%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, March 9th. This is a boost from Spire’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. Spire’s payout ratio is currently 45.73%.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio lifted its position in shares of Spire by 11.2% during the 2nd quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 2,070 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $144,000 after purchasing an additional 209 shares during the last quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. lifted its position in shares of Spire by 7.4% during the 2nd quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. now owns 4,147 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $289,000 after purchasing an additional 284 shares during the last quarter. Amalgamated Bank lifted its position in shares of Spire by 6.6% during the 2nd quarter. Amalgamated Bank now owns 6,464 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $451,000 after purchasing an additional 398 shares during the last quarter. Advisor Group Inc. lifted its position in shares of Spire by 30.7% during the 2nd quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 2,147 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $149,000 after purchasing an additional 504 shares during the last quarter. Finally, New York State Common Retirement Fund lifted its position in shares of Spire by 0.7% during the 3rd quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund now owns 88,106 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $6,577,000 after purchasing an additional 638 shares during the last quarter. 80.18% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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Spire Company Profile

Spire Inc, formerly The Laclede Group, Inc, is engaged to transform its business and pursue growth by growing its gas utility business through prudent investment in infrastructure upgrades and organic growth initiatives; acquire and integrate gas utilities; modernize its gas assets, and invest in innovation.

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