Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Wednesday.

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. “

WR has been the topic of several other research reports. Wells Fargo & Company raised Westar Energy from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and set a $55.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Monday, October 2nd. Bank of America began coverage on Westar Energy in a report on Tuesday, October 24th. They set a buy rating and a $57.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, J P Morgan Chase & Co set a $58.00 price objective on Westar Energy and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Thursday, October 12th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Westar Energy presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $55.75.

Westar Energy (NYSE WR) traded down $0.30 during trading hours on Wednesday, reaching $55.35. The company had a trading volume of 519,400 shares, compared to its average volume of 763,403. The stock has a market capitalization of $7,907.54, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.09, a PEG ratio of 6.70 and a beta of 0.42. The company has a quick ratio of 0.65, a current ratio of 1.07 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.97. Westar Energy has a 52-week low of $49.20 and a 52-week high of $57.50.

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, October 31st. The utilities provider reported $1.11 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.20 by ($0.09). The business had revenue of $794.33 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $773.96 million. Westar Energy had a net margin of 13.32% and a return on equity of 8.94%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 3.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.09 EPS. equities research analysts anticipate that Westar Energy will post 2.45 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 2nd. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 8th will be issued a dividend of $0.40 per share. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.89%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 7th. Westar Energy’s payout ratio is 66.39%.

In other news, CFO Anthony D. Somma sold 3,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $54.53, for a total transaction of $163,590.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, VP Kevin L. Kongs sold 2,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.06, for a total transaction of $108,120.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 55,100 shares of company stock valued at $2,991,312 in the last quarter. Insiders own 0.70% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC lifted its position in Westar Energy by 550.0% in the third quarter. Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC now owns 9,750 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $484,000 after purchasing an additional 8,250 shares during the period. Opus Investment Management Inc. acquired a new stake in Westar Energy in the third quarter valued at about $680,000. California Public Employees Retirement System lifted its position in Westar Energy by 9.7% in the third quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 333,181 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $16,526,000 after purchasing an additional 29,581 shares during the period. Virtu Financial LLC acquired a new stake in Westar Energy in the third quarter valued at about $356,000. Finally, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC acquired a new stake in Westar Energy in the third quarter valued at about $212,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.66% of the company’s stock.

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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.

Analyst Recommendations for Westar Energy (NYSE:WR)

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