Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of NiSource, Inc (NYSE:NI) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Friday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $29.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Year to date, shares of NiSource have gained higher than the industry it belongs to. NiSource is benefiting from continued execution of its infrastructure investment strategy.  NiSource will annually invest nearly $1.6–$1.8 billion in planned utility infrastructures from 2018 to 2020 and has identified long-term infrastructure investments worth $30 billion. Despite investing in upgrade programs, NiSource Inc. faces the risk of disruption in operation from its ageing infrastructure. NiSource’s rising debt level amid increasing interest rates is another concern.”

A number of other research analysts also recently weighed in on NI. Wells Fargo & Company began coverage on NiSource in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. They issued an outperform rating and a $30.00 target price on the stock. KeyCorp reissued a buy rating and issued a $29.50 target price on shares of NiSource in a report on Friday, September 1st. Credit Suisse Group raised NiSource from an underperform rating to an outperform rating and increased their target price for the company from $25.00 to $29.00 in a report on Monday, August 14th. Barclays PLC reissued an equal weight rating and issued a $26.00 target price (up previously from $25.00) on shares of NiSource in a report on Thursday, June 1st. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reissued a hold rating and issued a $23.00 target price on shares of NiSource in a report on Friday, July 14th. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the stock. NiSource has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $26.72.

Shares of NiSource (NI) opened at 25.69 on Friday. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $26.75 and a 200 day moving average price of $25.30. The stock has a market cap of $8.37 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 29.80 and a beta of 0.39. NiSource has a one year low of $21.17 and a one year high of $27.29.

NiSource (NYSE:NI) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.10 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.10. NiSource had a return on equity of 9.17% and a net margin of 5.96%. The company had revenue of $990.70 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $934.95 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.09 earnings per share. Equities research analysts expect that NiSource will post $1.19 earnings per share for the current year.

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The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, November 20th. Investors of record on Tuesday, October 31st will be given a dividend of $0.175 per share. This represents a $0.70 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.72%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, October 30th. NiSource’s dividend payout ratio is currently 81.40%.

In other NiSource news, Director Michael E. Jesanis bought 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 14th. The stock was purchased at an average price of $26.44 per share, for a total transaction of $52,880.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 34,195 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $904,115.80. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Company insiders own 0.35% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Marshall Wace North America L.P. grew its holdings in NiSource by 304.9% during the 2nd quarter. Marshall Wace North America L.P. now owns 142,287 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,557,000 after buying an additional 107,142 shares in the last quarter. Calamos Advisors LLC purchased a new position in NiSource during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $4,326,000. State of Wisconsin Investment Board grew its holdings in NiSource by 48.8% during the 2nd quarter. State of Wisconsin Investment Board now owns 205,446 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $5,210,000 after buying an additional 67,360 shares in the last quarter. Arizona State Retirement System grew its holdings in NiSource by 0.4% during the 1st quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 80,090 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,905,000 after buying an additional 300 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Schroder Investment Management Group purchased a new position in NiSource during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $35,129,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 81.96% of the company’s stock.

NiSource Company Profile

NiSource Inc is an energy holding company. The Company is engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Company operates through two business segments: Gas Distribution Operations and Electric Operations. The Company’s Gas Distribution Operations segment provides natural gas service and transportation for residential, commercial and industrial customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Indiana and Massachusetts.

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