Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Spire (NYSE:SR) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report released on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Spire Inc. is a public utility company which is engaged in the purchase, retail distribution, sale and marketing of natural gas. Its operating segment consists of Gas Utility and Gas Marketing. Gas Utility segment includes the regulated operations of Laclede Gas and Alabama Gas Corporation. Gas Marketing segment is engaged in the marketing of natural gas and related activities on a non-regulated basis. Spire Inc, formerly known as The Laclede Group Inc., is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. “

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently commented on the stock. ValuEngine raised shares of Spire from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, June 21st. Wells Fargo & Co raised shares of Spire from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and increased their target price for the company from $73.00 to $74.00 in a research report on Thursday, June 14th. Stifel Nicolaus increased their target price on shares of Spire from $71.00 to $73.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a research report on Tuesday, June 19th. Morgan Stanley increased their target price on shares of Spire from $69.00 to $75.00 and gave the company an underweight rating in a research report on Monday, July 16th. Finally, Guggenheim reissued a buy rating and set a $77.00 target price on shares of Spire in a research report on Monday, July 23rd. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $73.78.

NYSE SR opened at $76.20 on Tuesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.88, a quick ratio of 0.53 and a current ratio of 0.72. Spire has a 52-week low of $60.08 and a 52-week high of $82.85. The company has a market cap of $3.81 billion, a PE ratio of 21.40, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 5.05 and a beta of 0.01.

Spire (NYSE:SR) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.31 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.26 by $0.05. Spire had a net margin of 11.43% and a return on equity of 9.36%. The firm had revenue of $350.60 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $304.27 million. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.44 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 8.4% on a year-over-year basis. equities analysts predict that Spire will post 3.71 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 2nd. Investors of record on Tuesday, September 11th will be given a dividend of $0.5625 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, September 10th. This represents a $2.25 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.95%. Spire’s payout ratio is 63.20%.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Segall Bryant & Hamill LLC purchased a new position in shares of Spire in the second quarter worth $13,085,000. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. raised its holdings in shares of Spire by 19.9% during the second quarter. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. now owns 877,624 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $62,004,000 after purchasing an additional 145,475 shares during the last quarter. Citadel Advisors LLC raised its holdings in shares of Spire by 311.3% during the second quarter. Citadel Advisors LLC now owns 64,642 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $4,566,000 after purchasing an additional 48,926 shares during the last quarter. Deprince Race & Zollo Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Spire during the second quarter worth $34,977,000. Finally, Symphony Asset Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Spire by 64.2% during the first quarter. Symphony Asset Management LLC now owns 10,212 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $738,000 after purchasing an additional 3,992 shares during the last quarter. 83.24% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Spire Company Profile

Spire Inc, through its subsidiaries, engages in the purchase, retail distribution, and sale of natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and other end-users of natural gas customers in the United States. It operates through two segments, Gas Utility and Gas Marketing. The company is also involved in marketing natural gas and provides energy services on non-regulated basis to on-system utility transportation customers, as well as to retail and wholesale customers.

Further Reading: Trading Strategy

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Spire (SR)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for Spire (NYSE:SR)

Receive News & Ratings for Spire Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Spire and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.