NorthWestern (NWE) Cut to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of NorthWestern (NYSE:NWE) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “NorthWestern Energy is a growing, financially sound, investor-owned energy company. It has provided reliable and affordable energy to customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. The company got its start in small communities, providing essential service that allowed them to grow and prosper. “

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Separately, Wells Fargo set a $55.00 price objective on NorthWestern and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 14th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and three have assigned a hold rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of Sell and a consensus price target of $55.60.

NorthWestern stock opened at $53.89 on Thursday. NorthWestern has a one year low of $50.01 and a one year high of $64.47. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.01, a quick ratio of 0.39 and a current ratio of 0.47. The firm has a market cap of $2,662.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.18, a P/E/G ratio of 6.64 and a beta of 0.23.

NorthWestern (NYSE:NWE) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Monday, February 12th. The utilities provider reported $0.98 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.02 by ($0.04). NorthWestern had a return on equity of 9.33% and a net margin of 12.46%. The company had revenue of $344.55 million for the quarter. equities research analysts expect that NorthWestern will post 3.42 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a dividend, which was paid on Thursday, March 29th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, March 15th were paid a $0.55 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, March 14th. NorthWestern’s payout ratio is 66.67%.

In other news, VP Patrick R. Corcoran sold 5,100 shares of NorthWestern stock in a transaction on Thursday, February 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.97, for a total value of $259,947.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Jan Robert Horsfall sold 1,800 shares of NorthWestern stock in a transaction on Wednesday, February 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.38, for a total value of $103,284.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 5,155 shares in the company, valued at approximately $295,793.90. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 7,900 shares of company stock worth $414,181. Corporate insiders own 1.40% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Advisor Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of NorthWestern by 105.9% in the 4th quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 2,296 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $136,000 after purchasing an additional 1,181 shares during the last quarter. HBK Investments L P increased its stake in shares of NorthWestern by 25.4% in the 4th quarter. HBK Investments L P now owns 5,896 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $352,000 after purchasing an additional 1,196 shares during the last quarter. Chilton Capital Management LLC increased its stake in shares of NorthWestern by 25.1% in the 4th quarter. Chilton Capital Management LLC now owns 5,984 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $357,000 after purchasing an additional 1,200 shares during the last quarter. ING Groep NV increased its stake in shares of NorthWestern by 23.5% in the 4th quarter. ING Groep NV now owns 7,333 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $438,000 after purchasing an additional 1,397 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of NorthWestern by 6.4% in the 4th quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 26,671 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,592,000 after purchasing an additional 1,616 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 94.09% of the company’s stock.

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About NorthWestern

NorthWestern Corporation, doing business as North-Western Energy, provides electricity and natural gas. The Company’s segments are Electric operations, Natural gas operations and All other. As of December 31, 2016, the Company provided electricity and natural gas to approximately 709,600 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.

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