NorthWestern (NWE) Lifted to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of NorthWestern (NYSE:NWE) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday.

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. “

A number of other equities research analysts also recently weighed in on the stock. Barclays set a $62.00 price target on shares of NorthWestern and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Saturday, November 17th. Credit Suisse Group lifted their price target on shares of NorthWestern from $55.00 to $56.00 and gave the stock an underperform rating in a research note on Monday, October 1st. ValuEngine downgraded shares of NorthWestern from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Friday, November 2nd. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co lifted their price target on shares of NorthWestern from $59.00 to $61.00 and gave the stock a market perform rating in a research note on Monday, September 17th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $61.50.

Shares of NWE stock opened at $64.09 on Wednesday. NorthWestern has a 1 year low of $50.01 and a 1 year high of $65.74. The firm has a market cap of $3.22 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.42, a P/E/G ratio of 8.32 and a beta of 0.12. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.07, a quick ratio of 0.56 and a current ratio of 0.71.

NorthWestern (NYSE:NWE) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, October 23rd. The utilities provider reported $0.58 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.72 by ($0.14). NorthWestern had a return on equity of 9.64% and a net margin of 14.53%. The company had revenue of $279.87 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $312.21 million. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.74 EPS. The company’s revenue was down 9.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts predict that NorthWestern will post 3.4 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, December 31st. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 14th will be paid a dividend of $0.55 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 13th. This represents a $2.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.43%. NorthWestern’s dividend payout ratio is currently 66.67%.

In other news, Director Jan Robert Horsfall sold 900 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $60.95, for a total value of $54,855.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 4,255 shares in the company, valued at approximately $259,342.25. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, VP H. Grahame Heather sold 1,900 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, November 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $64.15, for a total transaction of $121,885.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.40% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Honkamp Krueger Financial Services Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of NorthWestern in the 3rd quarter valued at $124,000. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC boosted its stake in shares of NorthWestern by 344.4% in the 3rd quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC now owns 3,053 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $179,000 after purchasing an additional 2,366 shares in the last quarter. Redpoint Investment Management Pty Ltd acquired a new stake in shares of NorthWestern in the 3rd quarter valued at $210,000. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Alberta as represented by Alberta Investment Management Corp acquired a new stake in shares of NorthWestern in the 2nd quarter valued at $235,000. Finally, Nomura Holdings Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of NorthWestern in the 2nd quarter valued at $264,000. Institutional investors own 97.14% of the company’s stock.

About NorthWestern

NorthWestern Corporation, doing business as NorthWestern Energy, provides electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, and industrial customers. The company operates through Electric Operations and Natural Gas Operations segments. It generates, transmits, and distributes electricity; and produces, stores, transmits, and distributes natural gas, as well as owns municipal franchises to provide natural gas service in the communities.

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