Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of WGL Holdings Inc (NYSE:WGL) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report released on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “WASHINGTON GAS LIGHT CO is a public utility that delivers and sells natural gas to metropolitan Washington, D.C. and adjoining areas in Maryland and Virginia. A distribution subsidiary serves portions of Virginia and West Virginia. The Company has four wholly-owned active subsidiaries that include: Shenandoah Gas Company (Shenandoah) is engaged in the delivery and sale of natural gas at retail in the Shenandoah Valley, including Winchester, Middletown, Strasburg, Stephens City and New Market, Virginia, and Martinsburg, West Virginia. “

Separately, BidaskClub upgraded WGL Holdings from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Friday, June 23rd. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and four have assigned a hold rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $76.75.

WGL Holdings (WGL) opened at 85.18 on Wednesday. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $83.57 and its 200 day moving average is $82.28. WGL Holdings has a 12-month low of $58.66 and a 12-month high of $85.18. The firm has a market cap of $4.36 billion, a P/E ratio of 25.08 and a beta of 0.66.

WGL Holdings (NYSE:WGL) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, May 2nd. The utilities provider reported $1.87 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.97 by $0.10. The business had revenue of $841.80 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $899.14 million. WGL Holdings had a return on equity of 12.25% and a net margin of 7.46%. WGL Holdings’s revenue for the quarter was up .7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $1.78 EPS. On average, equities research analysts expect that WGL Holdings will post $3.25 EPS for the current year.

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The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, August 1st. Investors of record on Monday, July 10th will be paid a dividend of $0.51 per share. This represents a $2.04 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.39%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, July 6th. WGL Holdings’s payout ratio is 60.18%.

In other WGL Holdings news, Director Debra L. Lee sold 3,615 shares of WGL Holdings stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, June 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $83.66, for a total transaction of $302,430.90. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. 1.09% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Paragon Capital Management LLC increased its stake in WGL Holdings by 0.6% in the first quarter. Paragon Capital Management LLC now owns 3,602 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $297,000 after buying an additional 22 shares during the period. World Asset Management Inc increased its stake in WGL Holdings by 1.8% in the first quarter. World Asset Management Inc now owns 3,162 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $261,000 after buying an additional 56 shares during the period. Capstone Asset Management Co. increased its stake in WGL Holdings by 1.6% in the second quarter. Capstone Asset Management Co. now owns 3,916 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $327,000 after buying an additional 60 shares during the period. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC increased its stake in WGL Holdings by 0.4% in the first quarter. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC now owns 29,174 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,408,000 after buying an additional 124 shares during the period. Finally, IFP Advisors Inc increased its stake in WGL Holdings by 3.2% in the first quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 4,451 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $367,000 after buying an additional 140 shares during the period. 68.04% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

WGL Holdings Company Profile

WGL Holdings, Inc (WGL) is a holding company. The Company operates through four segments. The Regulated Utility segment consists of Washington Gas Light Company, which provides regulated gas distribution services to end use customers and natural gas transportation services to an unaffiliated natural gas distribution company and Hampshire Gas Company, which provides regulated interstate natural gas storage services.

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