CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE:CNP) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Friday. The firm currently has a $32.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target would suggest a potential upside of 11.46% from the stock’s previous close.

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. Toward this end, the company continues with its capital expenditure plan of $7 billion from 2017 through 2021. 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.”

Other equities analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Barclays PLC upped their price target on shares of CenterPoint Energy from $27.00 to $29.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Monday, March 20th. BidaskClub cut shares of CenterPoint Energy from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, June 13th. Deutsche Bank AG upped their price target on shares of CenterPoint Energy from $27.00 to $28.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, April 11th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada cut shares of CenterPoint Energy from an “outperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating and upped their price target for the company from $17.00 to $28.00 in a research report on Thursday, March 16th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $27.50.

Analyst Recommendations for CenterPoint Energy (NYSE:CNP)

Shares of CenterPoint Energy (NYSE CNP) opened at 28.71 on Friday. The firm has a market cap of $12.37 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.58 and a beta of 0.62. CenterPoint Energy has a 12-month low of $21.83 and a 12-month high of $29.08. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $28.06 and its 200-day moving average is $26.86.

CenterPoint Energy (NYSE:CNP) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Friday, May 5th. The utilities provider reported $0.37 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.36 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $2.74 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.14 billion. CenterPoint Energy had a net margin of 5.68% and a return on equity of 15.20%. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.32 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 37.9% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts predict that CenterPoint Energy will post $1.31 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, June 9th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, May 16th were given a dividend of $0.2675 per share. This represents a $1.07 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.73%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, May 12th. CenterPoint Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 100.00%.

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In other news, CEO Scott M. Prochazka sold 1,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, June 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $28.67, for a total transaction of $28,670.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 0.20% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in CenterPoint Energy by 1,521.6% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 39,034,890 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,076,193,000 after buying an additional 36,627,665 shares during the period. Norges Bank purchased a new stake in CenterPoint Energy during the fourth quarter valued at $112,460,000. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in CenterPoint Energy by 5.3% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 47,293,206 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,303,873,000 after buying an additional 2,359,375 shares during the period. AQR Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in CenterPoint Energy by 49.1% in the fourth quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 6,681,256 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $164,626,000 after buying an additional 2,199,377 shares during the period. Finally, FMR LLC boosted its stake in CenterPoint Energy by 25.9% in the fourth quarter. FMR LLC now owns 8,953,990 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $220,626,000 after buying an additional 1,841,363 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 77.61% of the company’s stock.

About CenterPoint Energy

CenterPoint Energy, Inc is a public utility holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates electric transmission and distribution facilities, and natural gas distribution facilities. The Electric Transmission & Distribution segment provides electric transmission and distribution services to retail electric providers.

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