Zacks Investment Research Lowers NiSource (NI) to Hold

NiSource (NYSE:NI) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Monday.

According to Zacks, “In last six months, shares of NiSource have outperformed its industry’s rally.  NiSource reaffirmed capital investment guidance for 2018 and will continue to invest nearly $1.6-$1.8 billion annually in utility infrastructures for the next two years. The company projects long-term infrastructure investments worth $30 billion and continues to expand customer base. The company is also working actively to reduce its carbon footprint by bringing down the coal usage. NiSource has made considerable progress on regulatory initiatives across different states it operates. Despite investing in upgrade programs, the company faces the risk of disruption in operation from its ageing infrastructure. Debt level is another concern amid the rising interest rates.”

NI has been the topic of several other reports. ValuEngine upgraded NiSource from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, June 22nd. Guggenheim downgraded NiSource from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Monday, September 10th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Wolfe Research set a $27.00 price objective on NiSource and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, September 17th. Bank of America restated a “buy” rating and set a $28.00 price objective on shares of NiSource in a research note on Monday, September 17th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group lowered NiSource from a “conviction-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $29.00 price objective for the company. in a research note on Friday, September 21st. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. NiSource currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $27.18.

Shares of NYSE:NI traded down $0.02 during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $24.95. 45,818 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 3,433,005. The company has a market cap of $9.05 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.64, a PEG ratio of 3.51 and a beta of 0.17. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.40, a quick ratio of 0.38 and a current ratio of 0.51. NiSource has a 52-week low of $22.44 and a 52-week high of $28.11.

NiSource (NYSE:NI) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, August 1st. The utilities provider reported $0.07 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.09 by ($0.02). The company had revenue of $1.01 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $999.39 million. NiSource had a net margin of 5.20% and a return on equity of 9.19%. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.10 earnings per share. Analysts predict that NiSource will post 1.29 earnings per share for the current year.

In other news, EVP Carrie J. Hightman sold 27,000 shares of NiSource stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $26.75, for a total value of $722,250.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 325,066 shares in the company, valued at approximately $8,695,515.50. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, CFO Donald Eugene Brown sold 2,400 shares of NiSource stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $26.50, for a total value of $63,600.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 49,167 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,302,925.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.37% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund grew its position in shares of NiSource by 5.4% in the 2nd quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 36,838 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $968,000 after acquiring an additional 1,878 shares in the last quarter. First Republic Investment Management Inc. boosted its position in NiSource by 18.0% during the 2nd quarter. First Republic Investment Management Inc. now owns 14,263 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $374,000 after purchasing an additional 2,174 shares during the period. Nissay Asset Management Corp Japan ADV boosted its position in NiSource by 8.7% during the 2nd quarter. Nissay Asset Management Corp Japan ADV now owns 27,860 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $732,000 after purchasing an additional 2,231 shares during the period. South Street Advisors LLC boosted its position in NiSource by 5.1% during the 1st quarter. South Street Advisors LLC now owns 47,260 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,129,000 after purchasing an additional 2,300 shares during the period. Finally, Daiwa Securities Group Inc. boosted its position in NiSource by 26.0% during the 2nd quarter. Daiwa Securities Group Inc. now owns 12,733 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $335,000 after purchasing an additional 2,626 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 90.64% of the company’s stock.

About NiSource

NiSource Inc, an energy holding company, operates as a regulated natural gas and electric utility company in the United States. The company operates in two segments, Gas Distribution Operations and Electric Operations. It provides natural gas service and transportation to residential, commercial, and industrial customers; generates, transmits, and distributes electricity; and offers wholesale and transmission transaction services.

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