Spire Inc (SR) Sees Large Decline in Short Interest

Spire Inc (NYSE:SR) was the target of a large decline in short interest in February. As of February 28th, there was short interest totalling 918,859 shares, a decline of 51.3% from the February 15th total of 1,887,871 shares. Currently, 1.9% of the shares of the stock are short sold. Based on an average trading volume of 306,373 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 3.0 days.

Shares of Spire stock opened at $79.93 on Wednesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.87, a current ratio of 0.58 and a quick ratio of 0.44. Spire has a 1 year low of $64.95 and a 1 year high of $81.29. The company has a market cap of $4.07 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.49, a P/E/G ratio of 5.46 and a beta of 0.22.

Spire (NYSE:SR) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, February 6th. The utilities provider reported $1.30 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.34 by ($0.04). Spire had a return on equity of 8.52% and a net margin of 8.25%. The company had revenue of $602.00 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $602.54 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.19 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.2% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts forecast that Spire will post 3.74 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, April 2nd. Investors of record on Monday, March 11th will be given a dividend of $0.5925 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, March 8th. This represents a $2.37 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.97%. Spire’s dividend payout ratio is currently 63.71%.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of SR. Norges Bank acquired a new position in shares of Spire during the 4th quarter worth approximately $30,284,000. BlackRock Inc. raised its holdings in Spire by 4.2% in the 3rd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 7,332,115 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $539,277,000 after acquiring an additional 295,292 shares during the last quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. raised its holdings in Spire by 22.6% in the 3rd quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 1,043,788 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $76,771,000 after acquiring an additional 192,450 shares during the last quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. raised its holdings in Spire by 71.6% in the 4th quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 430,533 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $31,894,000 after acquiring an additional 179,684 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc raised its holdings in Spire by 2.4% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 5,130,613 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $377,356,000 after acquiring an additional 119,269 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 81.24% of the company’s stock.

SR has been the topic of several research analyst reports. Guggenheim lowered Spire from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Monday, January 7th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Credit Suisse Group restated a “hold” rating and set a $72.00 price objective on shares of Spire in a research report on Thursday, February 7th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Spire from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $82.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Tuesday, January 1st. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Spire has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $75.75.

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Spire Company Profile

Spire Inc, through its subsidiaries, engages in the purchase, retail distribution, and sale of natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and other end-users of natural gas in the United States. The company operates through two segments, Gas Utility and Gas Marketing. It is also involved in marketing natural gas; and provision of energy services on non-regulated basis to on-system utility transportation customers, as well as to retail and wholesale customers.

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