Southwest Gas Corp. (NYSE:SWX) shares gapped up before the market opened on Thursday . The stock had previously closed at $71.40, but opened at $71.46. Southwest Gas Corp. shares last traded at $72.69, with a volume of 70,740 shares traded.

SWX has been the subject of several recent research reports. Zacks Investment Research raised Southwest Gas Corp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Thursday, April 28th. Argus cut Southwest Gas Corp. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 31st. Citigroup Inc. upped their price objective on Southwest Gas Corp. from $62.00 to $79.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 27th. Finally, Jefferies Group cut Southwest Gas Corp. from a “hold” rating to an “underperform” rating and set a $64.00 price objective for the company. in a research report on Monday, July 25th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and three have given a hold rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $71.25.

The company has a market capitalization of $3.42 billion and a PE ratio of 23.52. The company’s 50-day moving average is $76.08 and its 200 day moving average is $68.77.

Southwest Gas Corp. (NYSE:SWX) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Monday, August 8th. The company reported $0.19 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.18 by $0.01. The business earned $547.70 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $559.21 million. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.13 earnings per share. Equities analysts predict that Southwest Gas Corp. will post $3.15 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, CFO Roy R. Centrella sold 1,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $69.25, for a total value of $69,250.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 31,564 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,185,807. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, CAO Gregory J. Peterson sold 1,800 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, June 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.07, for a total value of $126,126.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief accounting officer now directly owns 13,817 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $968,157.19. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. New York State Common Retirement Fund raised its stake in shares of Southwest Gas Corp. by 2.3% in the fourth quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund now owns 43,800 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,416,000 after buying an additional 1,000 shares during the last quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Southwest Gas Corp. by 6.1% in the fourth quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 310,258 shares of the company’s stock worth $17,114,000 after buying an additional 17,799 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bank of Montreal Can raised its stake in shares of Southwest Gas Corp. by 106.6% in the fourth quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 35,293 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,947,000 after buying an additional 18,207 shares during the last quarter.

Southwest Gas Corporation is engaged in the business of purchasing, distributing and transporting natural gas in Arizona, Nevada and California. The Company operates through two segments: natural gas operations and construction services, which includes the operations of the Company’s subsidiary, Centuri Construction Group, Inc, (Centuri).

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