WEC Energy Group (WEC) Rating Lowered to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report released on Saturday.

According to Zacks, “In last three months loss in WEC Energy’s shares is wider than industry’s decline. Rising total debts amid increasing interest rates will increase its capital service costs and escalate the cost of the capital projects. A major chunk of its electricity production is generated from coal fired units and some coal units could attract emission regulation, making it uneconomical to maintain and operate. 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. Completion of its ongoing capital projects will help WEC Energy to achieve its targeted emission reduction. Acquisition of Bluewater Natural Gas Holding is going to be accretive to WEC Energy’s performance.”

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Several other equities analysts also recently weighed in on WEC. Guggenheim reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $73.00 target price on shares of WEC Energy Group in a research report on Wednesday, January 3rd. UBS started coverage on WEC Energy Group in a research report on Friday, February 2nd. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $65.00 target price for the company. Credit Suisse Group reiterated a “neutral” rating and issued a $63.00 price objective (down previously from $65.00) on shares of WEC Energy Group in a research note on Friday, February 23rd. Finally, Wells Fargo decreased their price objective on WEC Energy Group from $73.00 to $71.00 and set a “market perform” rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, February 1st. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $66.00.

NYSE WEC opened at $63.04 on Friday. The stock has a market capitalization of $19,891.96, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.08, a PEG ratio of 4.52 and a beta of 0.07. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.92, a current ratio of 0.57 and a quick ratio of 0.43. WEC Energy Group has a 1-year low of $58.92 and a 1-year high of $70.09.

WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, January 31st. The utilities provider reported $0.71 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.68 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $2.06 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.94 billion. WEC Energy Group had a return on equity of 10.81% and a net margin of 15.75%. WEC Energy Group’s revenue was up 4.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.61 EPS. sell-side analysts forecast that WEC Energy Group will post 3.3 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, Director Barbara L. Bowles sold 2,000 shares of WEC Energy Group stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $60.19, for a total value of $120,380.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Company insiders own 0.97% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Advisory Services Network LLC lifted its stake in WEC Energy Group by 157.2% during the fourth quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 1,690 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $112,000 after purchasing an additional 1,033 shares during the last quarter. Financial Gravity Companies Inc. purchased a new stake in WEC Energy Group during the fourth quarter worth approximately $122,000. Hanson & Doremus Investment Management purchased a new stake in WEC Energy Group during the fourth quarter worth approximately $133,000. Calton & Associates Inc. purchased a new stake in WEC Energy Group during the fourth quarter worth approximately $175,000. Finally, Crewe Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in WEC Energy Group during the fourth quarter worth approximately $193,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.96% of the company’s stock.

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About WEC Energy Group

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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