Zacks Investment Research Lowers ALLETE (ALE) to Sell

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of ALLETE (NYSE:ALE) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report released on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “ALLETE is an energy company. In addition to its electric utilities, Minnesota Power and Superior Water, Light and Power of Wisconsin, ALLETE owns ALLETE Clean Energy, based in Duluth, U.S. Water Services headquartered in St. Michael, Minn., BNI Energy in Center, N.D., and has an eight percent equity interest in the American Transmission Co. “

A number of other equities analysts also recently commented on ALE. Guggenheim reissued a hold rating and issued a $71.00 price objective on shares of ALLETE in a research note on Monday, July 23rd. ValuEngine downgraded ALLETE from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, August 24th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co upped their price target on ALLETE from $76.00 to $77.00 and gave the stock a market perform rating in a research report on Monday, September 17th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company. ALLETE presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $74.25.

Shares of NYSE:ALE opened at $76.85 on Wednesday. The company has a market capitalization of $3.92 billion, a P/E ratio of 24.09, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.76 and a beta of 0.17. ALLETE has a 52 week low of $66.64 and a 52 week high of $81.24. The company has a quick ratio of 0.71, a current ratio of 1.09 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.69.

ALLETE (NYSE:ALE) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 1st. The utilities provider reported $0.67 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.75 by ($0.08). The business had revenue of $348.00 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $366.00 million. ALLETE had a return on equity of 7.46% and a net margin of 11.12%. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 4.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.72 EPS. On average, sell-side analysts predict that ALLETE will post 3.38 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Saturday, December 1st. Stockholders of record on Thursday, November 15th will be given a dividend of $0.56 per share. This represents a $2.24 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.91%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, November 14th. ALLETE’s payout ratio is presently 70.22%.

In other news, Chairman Alan R. Hodnik sold 4,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.70, for a total transaction of $302,800.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director James J. Hoolihan sold 800 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $76.49, for a total value of $61,192.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 13,632 shares in the company, valued at $1,042,711.68. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.42% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of ALE. Meeder Asset Management Inc. acquired a new position in shares of ALLETE during the second quarter worth $114,000. FMR LLC purchased a new stake in shares of ALLETE during the third quarter valued at $122,000. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. grew its holdings in shares of ALLETE by 1,051.8% during the second quarter. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. now owns 1,601 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $124,000 after buying an additional 1,462 shares during the last quarter. BerganKDV Wealth Management LLC grew its holdings in shares of ALLETE by 57.0% during the third quarter. BerganKDV Wealth Management LLC now owns 1,987 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $149,000 after buying an additional 721 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Signet Financial Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of ALLETE during the second quarter valued at $160,000. 73.53% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

ALLETE Company Profile

ALLETE, Inc operates as an energy company. The company operates through three segments: Regulated Operations, ALLETE Clean Energy, and U.S. Water Services. It generates electricity from coal-fired, natural gas-fired, biomass co-fired, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and other sources. The company provides regulated electric, natural gas, and water services in northwestern Wisconsin to approximately 15,000 electric customers, 13,000 natural gas customers, and 10,000 water customers, as well as regulated utility electric services in northeastern Minnesota to approximately 145,000 retail customers and 16 non-affiliated municipal customers.

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