Spark Energy Inc. (NASDAQ:SPKE) shares saw unusually-strong trading volume on Tuesday . Approximately 278,191 shares were traded during trading, a decline of 2% from the previous session’s volume of 283,174 shares.The stock last traded at $27.03 and had previously closed at $26.48.

A number of research analysts have recently commented on SPKE shares. Zacks Investment Research lowered Spark Energy from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 20th. FBR & Co reissued a “buy” rating and set a $33.00 price objective (up previously from $32.00) on shares of Spark Energy in a report on Thursday, August 11th. Janney Montgomery Scott raised Spark Energy from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $34.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Wednesday, July 27th. Ladenburg Thalmann started coverage on Spark Energy in a report on Friday. They set a “neutral” rating and a $27.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, Wunderlich increased their price objective on Spark Energy from $30.00 to $35.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, August 12th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, three have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $30.50.

The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $26.67 and its 200-day moving average price is $26.65. The firm has a market cap of $181.87 million and a PE ratio of 14.34.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, September 13th. Stockholders of record on Monday, August 29th will be given a $0.3625 dividend. This represents a $1.45 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 5.18%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, August 25th.

In other news, Director W Keith Maxwell III sold 96,684 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, June 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $33.88, for a total value of $3,275,653.92. Following the transaction, the director now owns 92,850 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,145,758. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website.

An institutional investor recently raised its position in Spark Energy stock. Advisors Asset Management Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Spark Energy Inc. (NASDAQ:SPKE) by 20.0% during the fourth quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 63,693 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 10,600 shares during the period. Advisors Asset Management Inc. owned approximately 2.06% of Spark Energy worth $1,320,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Spark Energy, Inc is an independent retail energy services company. The Company provides residential and commercial customers in United States with an alternative for their natural gas and electricity. The Company operates in two segments: Retail Natural Gas Segment and Retail Electricity Segment. It operates in approximately 50 utility service territories across over 20 states and has approximately 328,000 residential customers and over 19,000 commercial customers, which translates to approximately 415,000 renewable energy credits (RCEs).

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