NiSource Inc. (NI) Upgraded to Buy at Zacks Investment Research
NiSource Inc. (NYSE:NI) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Friday. The firm currently has a $28.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price target would suggest a potential upside of 10.80% from the stock’s current price.
According to Zacks, “NiSource Inc.’s consistent investments to further strengthen its infrastructure and in its regulated operations will continue to drive its results. NiSource’s regulated business model provides visibility to its forward earnings. The company's strong liquidity position and improving credit rating will allow it to obtain additional funds at cheaper costs. However, despite investing in upgrade programs, NiSource faces the risk of disruption in operation from its ageing infrastructure. Further, delays in completion of projects increase capital costs and stretch the time limit of NiSource’s expected benefit from these projects.”
Several other research firms have also recently weighed in on NI. Evercore ISI cut shares of NiSource from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $23.75 price target for the company. in a report on Wednesday, July 6th. KeyCorp restated an “outperform” rating and set a $27.00 target price (up previously from $25.50) on shares of NiSource in a report on Tuesday, July 5th. Jefferies Group cut shares of NiSource from a “hold” rating to an “underperform” rating and set a $22.00 target price for the company. in a report on Monday, July 25th. Argus restated a “hold” rating on shares of NiSource in a report on Monday, July 11th. Finally, Citigroup Inc. increased their target price on shares of NiSource from $18.08 to $27.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 27th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. NiSource presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $25.09.
NiSource (NYSE:NI) traded down 0.95% on Friday, hitting $25.03. 1,419,000 shares of the stock traded hands. NiSource has a 52 week low of $17.67 and a 52 week high of $26.94. The stock has a market cap of $8.06 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 30.45 and a beta of 0.25. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $24.45 and its 200 day moving average is $24.30.
NiSource (NYSE:NI) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 2nd. The company reported $0.08 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.07 by $0.01. NiSource had a net margin of 6.18% and a return on equity of 8.75%. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.18 earnings per share. Equities analysts anticipate that NiSource will post $1.07 earnings per share for the current year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, November 18th. Shareholders of record on Monday, October 31st will be paid a $0.165 dividend. This represents a $0.66 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.61%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, October 27th. NiSource’s dividend payout ratio is currently 80.49%.
In other NiSource news, VP Teresa M. Smith sold 1,200 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $23.75, for a total value of $28,500.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 37,883 shares in the company, valued at $899,721.25. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.
A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Cohen & Steers Inc. raised its position in shares of NiSource by 14,608.3% in the second quarter. Cohen & Steers Inc. now owns 97,537,000 shares of the company’s stock valued at $95,586,000 after buying an additional 96,873,859 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in shares of NiSource by 12.2% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 33,580,911 shares of the company’s stock valued at $890,566,000 after buying an additional 3,654,293 shares during the last quarter. Norges Bank bought a new position in shares of NiSource during the fourth quarter valued at $63,763,000. AXA bought a new position in shares of NiSource during the first quarter valued at $50,418,000. Finally, State Street Corp raised its position in shares of NiSource by 14.9% in the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 16,070,267 shares of the company’s stock valued at $426,183,000 after buying an additional 2,088,701 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 82.28% of the company’s stock.
NiSource Company Profile
NiSource Inc is an energy holding company. The Company is engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Company operates through two business segments: Gas Distribution Operations and Electric Operations. The Gas Distribution Operations segment provides natural gas service and transportation for residential, commercial and industrial customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Indiana and Massachusetts.
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