Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Westar Energy Inc (NYSE:WR) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report published on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Westar Energy, Inc. is Kansas’ largest electric utility. Westar has 7,200 MW of electric generation capacity fueled by coal, uranium, natural gas, wind and landfill gas. They are a leader in electric transmission in Kansas. Their innovative customer service programs include mobile-enabled customer care, digital meters and paving the way for electric vehicle adoption. “

Shares of Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) opened at 54.90 on Thursday. Westar Energy has a 12-month low of $47.19 and a 12-month high of $57.50. The company has a market cap of $7.80 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.59 and a beta of 0.38. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $54.10 and its 200 day moving average price is $55.75.

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, February 22nd. The company reported $0.38 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.42 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $606.53 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $578.83 million. Westar Energy had a net margin of 13.27% and a return on equity of 8.91%. The firm’s revenue was up 11.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.28 EPS. On average, analysts predict that Westar Energy will post $2.51 earnings per share for the current year.

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The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 3rd. Stockholders of record on Thursday, March 9th will be given a $0.40 dividend. This is a boost from Westar Energy’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.38. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, March 7th. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.91%. Westar Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 65.24%.

In other news, SVP Jerl L. Banning sold 1,850 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, March 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.61, for a total value of $101,028.50. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. 0.61% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. WFG Advisors LP boosted its stake in Westar Energy by 7,829.3% in the fourth quarter. WFG Advisors LP now owns 28,149 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,337,000 after buying an additional 27,794 shares during the last quarter. Sowell Financial Services LLC acquired a new stake in Westar Energy during the fourth quarter worth $180,000. Assenagon Asset Management S.A. acquired a new stake in Westar Energy during the fourth quarter worth $4,609,000. Luminus Management LLC acquired a new stake in Westar Energy during the fourth quarter worth $48,781,000. Finally, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans boosted its stake in Westar Energy by 9.6% in the fourth quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 24,340 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,372,000 after buying an additional 2,130 shares during the last quarter. 70.02% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Westar Energy Company Profile

Westar Energy, Inc (Westar Energy) is an electric utility in Kansas. The Company provides electric generation, transmission and distribution services to approximately 700,000 customers in Kansas. The Company provides these services in central and northeastern Kansas, including the cities of Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan, Salina and Hutchinson.

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