Media headlines about Southwest Gas (NYSE:SWX) have trended somewhat positive this week, according to Accern Sentiment Analysis. Accern identifies negative and positive news coverage by reviewing more than twenty million news and blog sources. Accern ranks coverage of public companies on a scale of negative one to one, with scores closest to one being the most favorable. Southwest Gas earned a coverage optimism score of 0.09 on Accern’s scale. Accern also assigned news coverage about the utilities provider an impact score of 46.156389882262 out of 100, meaning that recent news coverage is somewhat unlikely to have an impact on the stock’s share price in the immediate future.

A number of equities research analysts have recently commented on SWX shares. KeyCorp reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Southwest Gas in a research report on Friday, October 20th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $70.00 price objective on shares of Southwest Gas in a research report on Monday, October 16th. Zacks Investment Research raised Southwest Gas from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 16th. Citigroup lifted their price objective on Southwest Gas from $79.00 to $82.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Monday, November 20th. Finally, UBS lifted their price objective on Southwest Gas from $83.00 to $85.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 8th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and six have assigned a hold rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $81.25.

Shares of Southwest Gas (SWX) traded up $0.28 during trading on Friday, reaching $86.23. The company had a trading volume of 356,778 shares, compared to its average volume of 229,559. Southwest Gas has a 52-week low of $71.51 and a 52-week high of $86.65. The firm has a market capitalization of $4,115.93, a PE ratio of 25.36, a P/E/G ratio of 3.91 and a beta of 0.61. The company has a quick ratio of 0.82, a current ratio of 0.82 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.01.

Southwest Gas (NYSE:SWX) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, November 7th. The utilities provider reported $0.21 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.14 by $0.07. Southwest Gas had a return on equity of 9.56% and a net margin of 6.64%. The firm had revenue of $593.15 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $579.40 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.05 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.8% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts predict that Southwest Gas will post 3.42 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 1st. Investors of record on Thursday, February 15th will be issued a $0.495 dividend. This represents a $1.98 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.30%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, February 14th. Southwest Gas’s payout ratio is currently 58.24%.

In related news, VP Kenneth J. Kenny sold 600 shares of Southwest Gas stock in a transaction on Monday, November 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.17, for a total value of $48,102.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 16,746 shares in the company, valued at $1,342,526.82. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, VP Gregory J. Peterson sold 1,000 shares of Southwest Gas stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.72, for a total value of $85,720.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 5,120 shares of company stock worth $423,096 in the last quarter. 0.99% of the stock is owned by insiders.

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About Southwest Gas

Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc, formerly Southwest Gas Corporation, is engaged in the business of purchasing, distributing and transporting natural gas. The Company operates through two segments: natural gas operations and construction services, which includes the operations of the Company’s subsidiary, Centuri Construction Group, Inc (Centuri).

Insider Buying and Selling by Quarter for Southwest Gas (NYSE:SWX)

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