National Fuel Gas Co. (NYSE:NFG) reached a new 52-week high during trading on Friday . The stock traded as high as $58.91 and last traded at $57.29, with a volume of 172,646 shares trading hands. The stock had previously closed at $58.09.

NFG has been the topic of several research reports. Zacks Investment Research upgraded 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, July 5th. Barclays PLC boosted their target price on National Fuel Gas from $47.00 to $61.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 10th. Jefferies Group upped their price objective on National Fuel Gas from $59.00 to $60.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, July 25th. Finally, Argus reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of National Fuel Gas in a research note on Thursday, June 9th. Eight equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $60.67.

The firm’s market cap is $4.87 billion. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $56.68 and a 200-day moving average price of $53.18.

National Fuel Gas (NYSE:NFG) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Friday, August 5th. The company reported $0.68 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.65 by $0.03. The firm earned $335.60 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $384.26 million. The company’s revenue was down 1.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.55 EPS. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that National Fuel Gas Co. will post $2.95 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, SVP Paula M. Ciprich sold 15,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated 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 transaction, the senior vice president now owns 83,181 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,662,295.05. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website.

Other hedge funds and institutional investors recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Principal Financial Group Inc. increased its position in National Fuel Gas by 3.9% in the fourth quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 269,355 shares of the company’s stock valued at $11,515,000 after buying an additional 10,133 shares during the period. Bank of Montreal Can increased its position in National Fuel Gas by 983.9% in the fourth quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 32,972 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,410,000 after buying an additional 29,930 shares during the period. Finally, Morgan Stanley increased its position in National Fuel Gas by 15.5% in the fourth quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 308,789 shares of the company’s stock valued at $13,200,000 after buying an additional 41,516 shares during the period.

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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