Spark Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPKE) has received an average rating of “Buy” from the nine ratings firms that are covering the firm, MarketBeat reports. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell recommendation, two have given a hold recommendation and five have issued a buy recommendation on the company. The average 12-month target price among analysts that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $23.08.

SPKE has been the topic of several recent research reports. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Spark Energy from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 12th. FBR & Co restated an “outperform” rating and issued a $18.50 price objective (up from $16.50) on shares of Spark Energy in a research report on Tuesday, May 9th. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services upped their price objective on Spark Energy from $16.50 to $17.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 9th. TheStreet upgraded Spark Energy from a “c” rating to a “b-” rating in a research report on Monday, May 8th. Finally, Wunderlich upped their price objective on Spark Energy from $22.00 to $27.50 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, June 12th.

Spark Energy (NASDAQ SPKE) traded up 7.039% on Friday, hitting $20.605. The stock had a trading volume of 120,715 shares. The stock has a market cap of $267.84 million, a price-to-earnings ratio of 41.542 and a beta of -1.62. Spark Energy has a one year low of $11.53 and a one year high of $23.65. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $20.86 and its 200 day moving average is $17.37.

Spark Energy (NASDAQ:SPKE) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Monday, May 8th. The utilities provider reported $0.17 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.38 by $0.21. Spark Energy had a net margin of 2.10% and a return on equity of 11.82%. The company had revenue of $194.35 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $140.07 million. Analysts anticipate that Spark Energy will post $1.24 earnings per share for the current year.

Spark Energy announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock buyback plan on Wednesday, May 24th that authorizes the company to repurchase $50.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the utilities provider to repurchase up to 19.2% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are usually a sign that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 14th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, August 29th will be given a $0.1813 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, August 25th. This represents a $0.73 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.77%. Spark Energy’s dividend payout ratio is currently 89.02%.

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In other Spark Energy news, Director W Keith Maxwell III bought 1,000 shares of Spark Energy stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 30th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $43.63 per share, for a total transaction of $43,630.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 345,565 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $15,077,000.95. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CEO Nathan Kroeker sold 21,244 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $43.13, for a total value of $916,253.72. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 28,135 shares in the company, valued at $1,213,462.55. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders bought 47,605 shares of company stock worth $1,815,426 and sold 172,586 shares worth $4,124,016. 66.89% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in SPKE. Crow Point Partners LLC increased its position in Spark Energy by 68.1% in the second quarter. Crow Point Partners LLC now owns 1,022,954 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $20,203,000 after buying an additional 414,395 shares during the period. Spark Investment Management LLC increased its position in Spark Energy by 95.3% in the second quarter. Spark Investment Management LLC now owns 507,400 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $9,539,000 after buying an additional 247,600 shares during the period. Peregrine Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in Spark Energy during the second quarter valued at $4,237,000. LSV Asset Management increased its position in Spark Energy by 89.0% in the first quarter. LSV Asset Management now owns 432,346 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $13,813,000 after buying an additional 203,605 shares during the period. Finally, Heartland Advisors Inc. acquired a new position in Spark Energy during the first quarter valued at $6,390,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 21.61% of the company’s stock.

About Spark Energy

Spark Energy, Inc is an independent retail energy services company. The Company provides residential and commercial customers across the United States with an alternative choice for their natural gas and electricity. The Company operates through two segments: Retail Natural Gas Segment and Retail Electricity Segment.

Analyst Recommendations for Spark Energy (NASDAQ:SPKE)

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