CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE:CNP) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday. The firm presently has a $29.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price target points to a potential upside of 14.49% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “CenterPoint Energy has been strengthening its infrastructure through regular capital investment and acquisitions, which will help it to meet the requirements of an expanding customer base. Moreover, it is investing substantially to expand its operations to cope with increasing utility demand. The company is currently focused on upgrading infrastructure and improving reliability. The company’s performance has been mainly driven by steady growth in customer count and the trend is expected to continue in the future, thereby driving utility demand. Moreover, the shares company returned higher than the Zacks Categorized Utility-Electric Power industry, in the last twelve months. However, the company’s results are subject to the impact of weather patterns, regulatory and judicial proceedings, and fluctuating commodity prices.”

CNP has been the topic of several other reports. Barclays PLC reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $27.00 price target on shares of CenterPoint Energy in a research report on Monday. Guggenheim started coverage on CenterPoint Energy in a research report on Thursday, November 3rd. They set a “buy” rating and a $25.00 price objective on the stock. TheStreet upgraded CenterPoint Energy to a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday. Credit Suisse Group cut CenterPoint Energy from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating and boosted their price objective for the company from $24.00 to $25.00 in a research report on Tuesday, November 8th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, SunTrust Banks, Inc. boosted their price objective on CenterPoint Energy from $24.00 to $25.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Monday, September 26th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating, five have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $24.20.

Analyst Recommendations for CenterPoint Energy (NYSE:CNP)

Shares of CenterPoint Energy (NYSE:CNP) traded down 0.08% during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $25.31. 744,101 shares of the company were exchanged. CenterPoint Energy has a one year low of $16.38 and a one year high of $25.47. The firm’s market cap is $10.90 billion. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $24.49 and its 200 day moving average price is $23.46.

CenterPoint Energy (NYSE:CNP) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, November 4th. The company reported $0.41 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.37 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $1.89 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.98 billion. CenterPoint Energy had a positive return on equity of 15.00% and a negative net margin of 2.46%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 15.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.34 EPS. Equities analysts expect that CenterPoint Energy will post $1.18 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 10th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, February 16th will be given a $0.2675 dividend. This represents a $1.07 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.22%. This is a boost from CenterPoint Energy’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.26. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, February 14th. CenterPoint Energy’s dividend payout ratio is -245.24%.

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Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan boosted its stake in shares of CenterPoint Energy by 0.4% in the third quarter. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan now owns 13,620 shares of the company’s stock worth $316,000 after buying an additional 50 shares during the period. WealthTrust Axiom LLC boosted its stake in shares of CenterPoint Energy by 0.4% in the second quarter. WealthTrust Axiom LLC now owns 14,232 shares of the company’s stock worth $341,000 after buying an additional 59 shares during the period. Washington Trust Bank boosted its stake in shares of CenterPoint Energy by 1.7% in the third quarter. Washington Trust Bank now owns 5,474 shares of the company’s stock worth $127,000 after buying an additional 90 shares during the period. Atlantic Trust Group LLC boosted its stake in shares of CenterPoint Energy by 1.1% in the second quarter. Atlantic Trust Group LLC now owns 10,512 shares of the company’s stock worth $252,000 after buying an additional 115 shares during the period. Finally, Commonwealth Bank of Australia boosted its stake in shares of CenterPoint Energy by 0.3% in the second quarter. Commonwealth Bank of Australia now owns 60,237 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,447,000 after buying an additional 152 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.55% of the company’s stock.

CenterPoint Energy Company Profile

CenterPoint Energy, Inc is a public utility holding company. The Company’s segments include Electric Transmission & Distribution, Natural Gas Distribution, Energy Services, Midstream Investments and Other Operations. Its Electric Transmission & Distribution segment provides electric transmission and distribution services to retail electric providers.

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