Empire District Electric Co. (NYSE:EDE) hit a new 52-week high during mid-day trading on Wednesday . The stock traded as high as $33.98 and last traded at $33.97, with a volume of 67,205 shares changing hands. The stock had previously closed at $33.93.

Several brokerages recently issued reports on EDE. Ladenburg Thalmann downgraded shares of Empire District Electric from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Friday, April 29th. TD Securities reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $22.00 target price on shares of Empire District Electric in a research note on Sunday, June 26th. National Bank Financial reiterated a “sector perform” rating and issued a $25.00 target price (down from $31.00) on shares of Empire District Electric in a research note on Monday, March 14th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Empire District Electric from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 15th. Finally, Barclays PLC downgraded shares of Empire District Electric from an “equal weight” rating to an “underweight” rating and cut their target price for the company from $24.00 to $19.00 in a research note on Friday, July 1st. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the stock. Empire District Electric presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $25.80.

The firm has a market cap of $1.49 billion and a P/E ratio of 26.70. The company has a 50-day moving average of $33.73 and a 200 day moving average of $32.19.

Empire District Electric (NYSE:EDE) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, April 28th. The company reported $0.38 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.30 by $0.08. Equities analysts predict that Empire District Electric Co. will post $1.47 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, June 15th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, June 1st were given a $0.26 dividend. This represents a $1.04 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.07%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, May 27th.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. American Investment Services Inc. increased its stake in shares of Empire District Electric by 14.5% in the fourth quarter. American Investment Services Inc. now owns 50,948 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,430,000 after buying an additional 6,436 shares during the last quarter. Bank of Montreal Can purchased a new stake in shares of Empire District Electric during the fourth quarter worth about $2,688,000. Gabelli Funds LLC increased its stake in shares of Empire District Electric by 2.1% in the fourth quarter. Gabelli Funds LLC now owns 479,000 shares of the company’s stock worth $13,446,000 after buying an additional 10,000 shares during the last quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund increased its stake in shares of Empire District Electric by 4.4% in the fourth quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund now owns 51,381 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,442,000 after buying an additional 2,155 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft FI purchased a new stake in shares of Empire District Electric during the fourth quarter worth about $2,544,000.

The Empire District Electric Company is a regulated utility company. The Company is engaged in the generation, purchase, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity. It provides its services with in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. It operates its businesses in three segments: electric, gas and other.

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