Avista (NYSE:AVA) Lowered to Buy at ValuEngine

ValuEngine cut shares of Avista (NYSE:AVA) from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday morning, ValuEngine reports.

Several other research analysts have also issued reports on the stock. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Avista from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, November 7th. Williams Capital downgraded shares of Avista from a hold rating to a sell rating and boosted their price target for the stock from $41.00 to $42.00 in a research report on Monday, September 16th. Finally, KeyCorp upped their price objective on shares of Avista from $37.00 to $41.00 and gave the company an underweight rating in a research note on Monday, October 21st. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company. Avista presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $43.60.

NYSE AVA opened at $46.83 on Tuesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $3.12 billion, a PE ratio of 22.19, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 7.34 and a beta of 0.33. The business’s 50-day moving average price is $47.36 and its two-hundred day moving average price is $46.05. The company has a current ratio of 0.62, a quick ratio of 0.45 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.02. Avista has a 12 month low of $39.75 and a 12 month high of $51.53.

Avista (NYSE:AVA) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 7th. The utilities provider reported $0.08 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.15 by ($0.07). The company had revenue of $283.77 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $295.10 million. Avista had a return on equity of 5.96% and a net margin of 14.19%. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.15 earnings per share. As a group, analysts forecast that Avista will post 1.92 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 13th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, November 21st will be issued a dividend of $0.387 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, November 20th. This represents a $1.55 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.31%. Avista’s payout ratio is currently 73.46%.

In other news, Director R John Taylor sold 900 shares of Avista stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.15, for a total value of $42,435.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, insider Broomfield Robert 225,944 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 4th. Company insiders own 1.10% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of AVA. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund increased its stake in Avista by 2.0% in the second quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 25,940 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,157,000 after purchasing an additional 500 shares in the last quarter. Arizona State Retirement System grew its stake in shares of Avista by 0.6% in the 2nd quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 101,992 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $4,549,000 after buying an additional 616 shares during the period. Strs Ohio grew its stake in shares of Avista by 39.5% in the 2nd quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 6,000 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $267,000 after buying an additional 1,700 shares during the period. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL increased its position in Avista by 8.8% in the 2nd quarter. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL now owns 160,300 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $7,149,000 after buying an additional 13,000 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Creative Planning increased its position in Avista by 1.0% in the 2nd quarter. Creative Planning now owns 56,750 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,531,000 after buying an additional 562 shares in the last quarter. 80.12% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Avista

Avista Corporation operates as an electric and natural gas utility company. It operates through two segments, Avista Utilities and AEL&P. The Avista Utilities segment provides electric distribution and transmission, and natural gas distribution services in parts of eastern Washington and northern Idaho; and natural gas distribution services in parts of northeastern and southwestern Oregon, as well as generates electricity in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Montana.

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