National Fuel Gas Co. (NYSE:NFG) shares traded down 2.6% during trading on Thursday . The company traded as low as $55.10 and last traded at $55.29, with a volume of 268,045 shares trading hands. The stock had previously closed at $56.77.

A number of research analysts have recently commented on the company. Zacks Investment Research raised National Fuel Gas from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $63.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Tuesday. Argus reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of National Fuel Gas in a research note on Sunday, April 10th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $56.00 target price on shares of National Fuel Gas in a research note on Friday, April 29th. Finally, TheStreet raised National Fuel Gas from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 12th. Seven analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. National Fuel Gas has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $57.67.

The stock’s market capitalization is $4.70 billion. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $55.47 and its 200 day moving average price is $49.82.

National Fuel Gas (NYSE:NFG) last released its earnings results on Friday, April 29th. The company reported $0.97 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.96 by $0.01. During the same period last year, the business earned $1.02 earnings per share. The business earned $449.10 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $624.02 million. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 24.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts expect that National Fuel Gas Co. will post $2.87 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, July 15th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, June 30th will be issued a dividend of $0.405 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, June 28th. This represents a $1.62 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.93%. This is an increase from National Fuel Gas’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.40.

In other news, SVP Paula M. Ciprich sold 15,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, June 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.05, for a total transaction of $840,750.00. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now owns 83,181 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,662,295.05. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in NFG. Numeric Investors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of National Fuel Gas during the fourth quarter worth about $1,141,000. Rhumbline Advisers increased its stake in shares of National Fuel Gas by 0.9% in the fourth quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 126,812 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,421,000 after buying an additional 1,095 shares in the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund increased its stake in shares of National Fuel Gas by 1.2% in the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 32,707 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,398,000 after buying an additional 400 shares in the last quarter. Comerica Bank increased its stake in shares of National Fuel Gas by 3.0% in the fourth quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 70,229 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,965,000 after buying an additional 2,045 shares in the last quarter. Finally, New York State Common Retirement Fund increased its stake in shares of National Fuel Gas by 1.3% in the fourth quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund now owns 196,200 shares of the company’s stock worth $8,388,000 after buying an additional 2,500 shares in the last quarter.

National Fuel Gas Company is a holding company. The Company is an energy company engaged in the production, gathering, transportation, distribution and marketing of natural gas. The Company operates through five segments: Exploration and Production, including operations carried out through its subsidiary, Seneca Resources Corporation; Pipeline and Storage, including operations carried out through its subsidiaries, National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation and Empire Pipeline, Inc; Gathering, including operations carried out through subsidiaries of National Fuel Gas Midstream Corporation; Utility, including operations are carried out by through its subsidiary, Distribution Corporation, and Energy Marketing, including operations carried out through its subsidiary, National Fuel Resources, Inc The Company operates an integrated business, with assets centered in western New York and Pennsylvania.

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