Zacks Investment Research Upgrades NorthWestern (NWE) to Hold

NorthWestern (NYSE:NWE) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and 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 research firms have also issued reports on NWE. Barclays set a $62.00 target price on NorthWestern and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Saturday, November 17th. ValuEngine upgraded NorthWestern from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 13th. Wells Fargo & Co raised their price objective on NorthWestern from $59.00 to $61.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a research note on Monday, September 17th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group raised their price objective on NorthWestern from $55.00 to $56.00 and gave the company an “underperform” rating in a research note on Monday, October 1st. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. NorthWestern presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $61.50.

Shares of NYSE:NWE opened at $62.79 on Wednesday. The stock has a market cap of $3.16 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.03, a PEG ratio of 8.17 and a beta of 0.08. The company has a quick ratio of 0.56, a current ratio of 0.71 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.07. NorthWestern has a 12 month low of $50.01 and a 12 month high of $64.76.

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

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

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. BlackRock Inc. lifted its holdings in NorthWestern by 1.5% during the 3rd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 6,973,701 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $409,077,000 after buying an additional 105,749 shares during the last quarter. American Century Companies Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of NorthWestern by 10.9% in the 3rd quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 3,044,341 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $178,581,000 after purchasing an additional 298,728 shares during the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted its holdings in shares of NorthWestern by 3.1% in the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 2,528,462 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $148,319,000 after purchasing an additional 76,651 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp lifted its holdings in shares of NorthWestern by 1.5% in the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 1,414,720 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $82,987,000 after purchasing an additional 20,764 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Macquarie Group Ltd. lifted its holdings in shares of NorthWestern by 24.0% in the 3rd quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 1,412,921 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $82,882,000 after purchasing an additional 273,214 shares during the last quarter. 97.76% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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