Aqua America (WTR) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Aqua America (NYSE:WTR) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Saturday.

According to Zacks, “In last three months shares of Aqua America have gained compared with a decline with its industry. Aqua America continues to benefit from its expanding customer base resulting from acquisitions and organic initiatives. The company aims to invest more than $1.4 billion in the 2018-2020-time frame. However, Aqua America, like other water utilities, was impacted by unfavorable weather conditions that reduce demand for water and increase expenses needed for repair of damaged infrastructure. Adherence to stringent regulations and increasing interest rates will increase the cost of financing capital projects. Moreover, contamination of water supplied might result in disruption of water services and lead the company to incur extra cost.”

WTR has been the subject of several other research reports. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Aqua America from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, May 10th. Boenning Scattergood reiterated a hold rating on shares of Aqua America in a report on Wednesday, May 9th. Finally, UBS Group began coverage on shares of Aqua America in a report on Thursday, March 8th. They issued a neutral rating and a $36.00 target price for the company. Seven research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Aqua America presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $38.29.

Shares of NYSE WTR opened at $35.91 on Friday. The firm has a market cap of $6.26 billion, a P/E ratio of 25.87, a P/E/G ratio of 4.71 and a beta of 0.45. Aqua America has a 12-month low of $32.30 and a 12-month high of $39.55. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.05, a quick ratio of 0.42 and a current ratio of 0.48.

Aqua America (NYSE:WTR) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, May 8th. The utilities provider reported $0.29 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.29. Aqua America had a net margin of 29.59% and a return on equity of 12.60%. The business had revenue of $194.30 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $193.19 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.28 earnings per share. Aqua America’s revenue was up 3.5% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts predict that Aqua America will post 1.4 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Private Trust Co. NA purchased a new stake in Aqua America during the second quarter worth about $240,000. National Investment Services Inc. WI purchased a new stake in Aqua America during the second quarter worth about $469,000. Brown Advisory Inc. increased its holdings in Aqua America by 2.0% during the first quarter. Brown Advisory Inc. now owns 101,451 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,455,000 after buying an additional 2,000 shares during the last quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. increased its holdings in Aqua America by 84.7% during the first quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. now owns 34,627 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,178,000 after buying an additional 15,878 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Allianz Asset Management GmbH increased its holdings in Aqua America by 102.2% during the first quarter. Allianz Asset Management GmbH now owns 819,855 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $27,924,000 after buying an additional 414,464 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 54.24% of the company’s stock.

About Aqua America

Aqua America, Inc, through its subsidiaries, operates regulated utilities that provide water or wastewater services in the United States. It offers water and wastewater services through operating and maintenance contracts with municipal authorities and other parties. The company also provides non-utility raw water supply services for firms in the natural gas drilling industry.

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