Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Friday. The brokerage currently has $98.00 price objective on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Duke Energy’s hefty investment plans for the next five years is expected to improve its business by generating cleaner energy and bolstering its renewable asset base, buoys optimism. Moreover, over the next 10 years, Duke Energy plans to strengthen its energy delivery system by investing $25 billion to create a more modern, smarter energy grid. The company has also been pursuing additional generation projects, such as dual-fuel capabilities, and combined heat and power facilities to increase the flexibility of its system. Duke Energy also pursues a systematic asset divestment initiative. Moreover, it outperformed the broader industry in the last year. Yet, potential volatility in market prices of fuel, electricity and other renewable energy commodities could create operational risks for the company. In addition, adverse outcome from pending regulatory cases may negatively impact Duke Energy’s earnings.”

DUK has been the subject of several other research reports. BidaskClub upgraded Duke Energy Corporation from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Monday, July 24th. Morgan Stanley boosted their price objective on Duke Energy Corporation from $89.00 to $92.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a report on Friday, September 8th. BMO Capital Markets restated a hold rating and set a $87.00 price objective (up previously from $85.00) on shares of Duke Energy Corporation in a report on Friday, August 4th. Royal Bank Of Canada restated a buy rating and set a $87.00 price objective on shares of Duke Energy Corporation in a report on Tuesday, August 29th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG restated a hold rating and set a $84.00 price objective (up previously from $83.00) on shares of Duke Energy Corporation in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $83.18.

Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) traded down 0.23% during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $87.30. The company had a trading volume of 6,419,300 shares. Duke Energy Corporation has a one year low of $72.34 and a one year high of $88.40. The firm has a market capitalization of $61.11 billion, a P/E ratio of 25.86 and a beta of 0.25. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $86.68 and its 200-day moving average is $84.33.

Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 3rd. The utilities provider reported $1.01 EPS for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.01. The firm had revenue of $5.56 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.76 billion. Duke Energy Corporation had a return on equity of 7.72% and a net margin of 9.89%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 6.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $1.07 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Duke Energy Corporation will post $4.60 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, September 18th. Shareholders of record on Friday, August 18th will be given a $0.89 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, August 16th. This represents a $3.56 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.08%. This is a boost from Duke Energy Corporation’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.86. Duke Energy Corporation’s payout ratio is currently 105.64%.

In other Duke Energy Corporation news, EVP Douglas F. Esamann sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $86.22, for a total value of $431,100.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 50,316 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,338,245.52. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 0.07% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in Duke Energy Corporation by 3.2% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 50,043,241 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $4,183,115,000 after purchasing an additional 1,572,216 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in Duke Energy Corporation by 1.2% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 43,215,514 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,612,384,000 after purchasing an additional 506,596 shares during the last quarter. State Street Corp boosted its position in Duke Energy Corporation by 1.3% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 33,919,431 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,781,737,000 after purchasing an additional 451,100 shares during the last quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA boosted its position in Duke Energy Corporation by 1.5% in the second quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA now owns 9,473,847 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $791,919,000 after purchasing an additional 141,551 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA boosted its position in Duke Energy Corporation by 33.1% in the first quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 9,422,063 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $772,704,000 after purchasing an additional 2,345,114 shares during the last quarter. 56.22% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Duke Energy Corporation Company Profile

Duke Energy Corporation (Duke Energy) is an energy company. The Company operates through three segments: Electric Utilities and Infrastructure; Gas Utilities and Infrastructure, and Commercial Renewables. The Company operates in the United States through its direct and indirect subsidiaries. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure segment provides retail electric service through the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 7.5 million customers within the Southeast and Midwest regions of the United States.

Analyst Recommendations for Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK)

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