Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE:WR) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “Westar Energy, Inc. is Kansas’ largest electric utility. Westar has 7,200 MW of electric generation capacity fueled by coal, uranium, natural gas, wind and landfill gas. They are a leader in electric transmission in Kansas. Their innovative customer service programs include mobile-enabled customer care, digital meters and paving the way for electric vehicle adoption. “

Other equities analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. J P Morgan Chase & Co set a $58.00 price objective on shares of Westar Energy and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Thursday. BidaskClub raised shares of Westar Energy from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Saturday, August 5th. Wells Fargo & Company raised shares of Westar Energy from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and set a $55.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Monday, October 2nd. Wolfe Research initiated coverage on shares of Westar Energy in a research note on Wednesday, July 26th. They issued an outperform rating for the company. Finally, Evercore ISI raised shares of Westar Energy from an in-line rating to an outperform rating and raised their price objective for the stock from $49.00 to $53.00 in a research note on Tuesday, July 11th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company. Westar Energy currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $55.33.

Shares of Westar Energy (NYSE WR) opened at 52.06 on Thursday. Westar Energy has a 52 week low of $49.20 and a 52 week high of $57.50. The stock has a market cap of $7.40 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.87 and a beta of 0.39. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $50.75 and its 200 day moving average price is $51.90.

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, August 8th. The utilities provider reported $0.50 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.56 by ($0.06). Westar Energy had a return on equity of 8.87% and a net margin of 13.33%. The firm had revenue of $609.32 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $633.96 million. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.51 EPS. Equities research analysts anticipate that Westar Energy will post $2.50 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, October 2nd. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 8th were paid a dividend of $0.40 per share. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.07%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, September 7th. Westar Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 67.23%.

In other Westar Energy news, SVP Bruce A. Akin sold 5,000 shares of Westar Energy stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.50, for a total transaction of $257,500.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, SVP Greg A. Greenwood sold 10,000 shares of Westar Energy stock in a transaction on Monday, August 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.00, for a total transaction of $510,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 31,500 shares of company stock valued at $1,611,715 in the last three months. Company insiders own 0.70% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd raised its holdings in shares of Westar Energy by 18.3% during the 2nd quarter. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd now owns 5,089 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $269,000 after purchasing an additional 789 shares in the last quarter. WINTON GROUP Ltd bought a new position in shares of Westar Energy during the 2nd quarter valued at $1,241,000. GWM Advisors LLC raised its holdings in shares of Westar Energy by 13.4% during the 2nd quarter. GWM Advisors LLC now owns 20,430 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,030,000 after purchasing an additional 2,414 shares in the last quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Westar Energy by 1.5% during the 2nd quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. now owns 42,507 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,254,000 after purchasing an additional 634 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Westar Energy by 19.6% during the 2nd quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. now owns 17,833 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $945,000 after purchasing an additional 2,923 shares in the last quarter. 73.65% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Westar Energy

Westar Energy, Inc is an electric utility. The Company provides electric generation, transmission and distribution services. The Company provides these services in central and northeastern Kansas, including the cities of Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan, Salina and Hutchinson. Its subsidiary, Kansas Gas and Electric Company (KGE), provides these services in south-central and southeastern Kansas, including the city of Wichita.

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