Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of NorthWestern Corp. (NYSE:NWE) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Tuesday morning. They currently have $66.00 price target on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Northwestern Corporation d/b/a NorthWestern Energy is an investor-owned utility and one of the largest providers of electricity and natural gas in the northwest quadrant of the United States. NorthWestern was incorporated in Delaware in November 1923, and since has generated and distributed electricity in South Dakota and distributed natural gas in South Dakota and Nebraska through their energy division, NorthWestern Energy. “

Several other brokerages also recently issued reports on NWE. Mizuho cut their target price on shares of NorthWestern Corp. from $65.00 to $60.00 and set a neutral rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, October 20th. Williams Capital upgraded shares of NorthWestern Corp. from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $58.00 target price for the company in a research note on Monday, October 10th.

Shares of NorthWestern Corp. (NYSE:NWE) opened at 58.34 on Tuesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $2.82 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.38 and a beta of 0.34. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $56.21 and its 200-day moving average price is $58.54. NorthWestern Corp. has a 12-month low of $51.95 and a 12-month high of $63.75.

NorthWestern Corp. (NYSE:NWE) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, October 20th. The company reported $0.68 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.58 by $0.10. NorthWestern Corp. had a net margin of 13.04% and a return on equity of 9.94%. The business earned $301 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $282.30 million. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.51 EPS. NorthWestern Corp.’s revenue was up 10.4% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts predict that NorthWestern Corp. will post $3.20 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 30th. Investors of record on Thursday, December 15th will be paid a $0.50 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, December 13th. This represents a $2.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.43%. NorthWestern Corp.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 59.52%.

In other NorthWestern Corp. news, CEO Robert C. Rowe sold 3,011 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, September 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total transaction of $174,638.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 132,843 shares in the company, valued at $7,704,894. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. 1.34% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. UBS Group AG boosted its stake in NorthWestern Corp. by 57.9% in the first quarter. UBS Group AG now owns 9,026 shares of the company’s stock valued at $557,000 after buying an additional 3,311 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in NorthWestern Corp. by 2.1% in the first quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 309,678 shares of the company’s stock valued at $19,122,000 after buying an additional 6,352 shares during the last quarter. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY boosted its stake in NorthWestern Corp. by 0.3% in the first quarter. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY now owns 64,802 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,002,000 after buying an additional 219 shares during the last quarter. Boothbay Fund Management LLC purchased a new stake in NorthWestern Corp. during the first quarter valued at $207,000. Finally, BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA boosted its stake in NorthWestern Corp. by 32.4% in the second quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 20,862 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,316,000 after buying an additional 5,101 shares during the last quarter. 97.31% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About NorthWestern Corp.

NorthWestern Corporation, doing business as North-Western Energy, provides electricity and natural gas. The Company provides electricity and natural gas to over 701,000 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. It generates and distributes electricity in South Dakota; distributes natural gas in South Dakota and Nebraska, and generates and distributes electricity and distributed natural gas in Montana.

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