Atmos Energy (NYSE:ATO) Sees Large Volume Increase

Atmos Energy Co. (NYSE:ATO) shares saw strong trading volume on Thursday . 63,544 shares traded hands during trading, a decline of 94% from the previous session’s volume of 996,490 shares.The stock last traded at $105.97 and had previously closed at $104.20.

A number of equities analysts have recently commented on the stock. Morgan Stanley lifted their price target on shares of Atmos Energy from $119.00 to $126.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Tuesday, December 21st. Argus lowered shares of Atmos Energy from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, October 7th. TheStreet upgraded shares of Atmos Energy from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a report on Monday, December 27th. Barclays upgraded shares of Atmos Energy from an “underweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and boosted their target price for the company from $95.00 to $101.00 in a report on Monday, December 13th. Finally, Bank of America upgraded shares of Atmos Energy from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their target price for the company from $100.00 to $107.00 in a report on Wednesday, December 15th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company. According to MarketBeat.com, the stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $110.00.

The company has a quick ratio of 0.76, a current ratio of 0.81 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.62. The stock has a market capitalization of $14.07 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.55, a P/E/G ratio of 2.66 and a beta of 0.50. The firm’s 50 day simple moving average is $98.47 and its two-hundred day simple moving average is $96.49.

Atmos Energy (NYSE:ATO) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, November 10th. The utilities provider reported $0.37 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.34 by $0.03. Atmos Energy had a net margin of 19.53% and a return on equity of 8.67%. The firm had revenue of $568.38 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $622.75 million. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.53 earnings per share. As a group, equities research analysts expect that Atmos Energy Co. will post 5.49 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, December 13th. Stockholders of record on Monday, November 29th were given a dividend of $0.68 per share. The ex-dividend date was Friday, November 26th. This is an increase from Atmos Energy’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.63. This represents a $2.72 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.56%. Atmos Energy’s payout ratio is presently 52.71%.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its position in Atmos Energy by 3.0% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 15,853,316 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,523,663,000 after purchasing an additional 467,099 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp grew its position in Atmos Energy by 1.9% in the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 9,353,526 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $898,967,000 after purchasing an additional 170,495 shares in the last quarter. American Century Companies Inc. grew its position in Atmos Energy by 1.0% in the 3rd quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 5,474,953 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $482,891,000 after purchasing an additional 55,815 shares in the last quarter. Magellan Asset Management Ltd grew its position in Atmos Energy by 0.5% in the 2nd quarter. Magellan Asset Management Ltd now owns 3,903,799 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $375,194,000 after purchasing an additional 19,477 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG grew its position in Atmos Energy by 38.2% in the 3rd quarter. Deutsche Bank AG now owns 2,963,181 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $261,351,000 after purchasing an additional 818,407 shares in the last quarter. 84.63% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Atmos Energy (NYSE:ATO)

Atmos Energy Corp. engages in the regulated natural gas distribution and pipeline and storage businesses. It operates through the Distribution, and Pipeline and Storage business segments. The Distribution segment comprises regulated natural gas distribution and related sales operations. The Pipeline and Storage segment includes the pipeline and storage operations of Atmos Pipeline-Texas division and natural gas transmission operations in Louisiana.

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