Spire (SR) Stock Rating Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Spire (NYSE:SR) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Friday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $82.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock.

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. “

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A number of other analysts have also commented on SR. Morgan Stanley lifted their price target on Spire from $75.00 to $77.00 and gave the company an underweight rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 13th. JPMorgan Chase cut their price target on Spire from $77.00 to $65.00 and set an underweight rating on the stock in a research note on Thursday, January 25th. Hilliard Lyons raised Spire to a buy rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. Stifel Nicolaus reissued a hold rating and set a $65.00 price target on shares of Spire in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. Finally, Credit Suisse Group raised Spire from a neutral rating to an outperform rating and cut their price target for the company from $68.25 to $68.00 in a research note on Monday, February 26th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the stock. Spire presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $70.86.

Shares of SR stock traded down $0.05 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $73.65. 165,618 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 227,061. Spire has a 1-year low of $60.08 and a 1-year high of $82.85. The firm has a market capitalization of $3,562.96, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.69, a PEG ratio of 4.89 and a beta of 0.06. The company has a current ratio of 0.70, a quick ratio of 0.53 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.97.

Spire (NYSE:SR) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The utilities provider reported $1.19 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate 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 analyst estimates of $516.16 million. During the same period last year, the firm posted $1.04 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 13.5% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts predict that Spire will post 3.74 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, April 3rd. Investors of record on Monday, March 12th were paid a $0.563 dividend. This is a positive change from Spire’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. This represents a $2.25 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.06%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, March 9th. Spire’s payout ratio is currently 63.20%.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Allianz Asset Management GmbH lifted its stake in shares of Spire by 13.1% in the third quarter. Allianz Asset Management GmbH now owns 31,580 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,358,000 after acquiring an additional 3,655 shares during the period. Dean Capital Investments Management LLC acquired a new position in Spire in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $743,000. BlackRock Inc. lifted its stake in Spire by 3.3% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 6,273,333 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $471,441,000 after buying an additional 200,037 shares during the period. Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. lifted its stake in Spire by 64.9% in the fourth quarter. Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. now owns 718,674 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $54,051,000 after buying an additional 282,725 shares during the period. Finally, AMP Capital Investors Ltd lifted its stake in Spire by 3.6% in the fourth quarter. AMP Capital Investors Ltd now owns 23,045 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,732,000 after buying an additional 800 shares during the period. 82.87% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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About Spire

Spire Inc, through its subsidiaries, engages in the purchase, retail distribution, and sale of natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and other end-users of natural gas customers in the United States. It operates through two segments, Gas Utility and Gas Marketing. The company is also involved in marketing natural gas and provides energy services on non-regulated basis to on-system utility transportation customers, as well as to retail and wholesale customers.

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