Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Fortis (NYSE:FTS) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report released on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Fortis, Inc. is engaged in electric and gas utility business. The Company offers regulated utilities comprised of electric and gas as well as engages in non-regulated hydroelectric operations. It operates primarily in Canada, United States and Caribbean. Fortis, Inc. is based in St John’s, Canada. “

FTS has been the topic of several other reports. Bank of America assumed coverage on Fortis in a research report on Tuesday, October 9th. They set a buy rating on the stock. ValuEngine raised Fortis from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, July 5th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Fortis presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $45.00.

Fortis stock opened at $32.44 on Wednesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.37, a quick ratio of 0.49 and a current ratio of 0.59. Fortis has a one year low of $30.88 and a one year high of $38.24. The firm has a market cap of $13.77 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.64, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.02 and a beta of -0.13.

Fortis (NYSE:FTS) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 31st. The utilities provider reported $0.57 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.44 by $0.13. Fortis had a return on equity of 6.75% and a net margin of 11.97%. The company had revenue of $1.51 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.57 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.61 earnings per share. As a group, equities analysts anticipate that Fortis will post 1.95 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Saturday, December 1st. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, November 20th will be given a $0.349 dividend. This represents a $1.40 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.30%. This is a boost from Fortis’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.32. The ex-dividend date is Monday, November 19th. Fortis’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 66.67%.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Morgan Stanley boosted its position in Fortis by 3.1% in the second quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 12,290,416 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $391,819,000 after purchasing an additional 368,124 shares during the last quarter. TD Asset Management Inc. boosted its position in Fortis by 2.4% in the second quarter. TD Asset Management Inc. now owns 9,190,165 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $293,569,000 after purchasing an additional 213,453 shares during the last quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank boosted its position in Fortis by 28.0% in the second quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 8,426,529 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $269,575,000 after purchasing an additional 1,845,301 shares during the last quarter. Legal & General Group Plc boosted its position in Fortis by 13.1% in the second quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 5,612,767 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $179,282,000 after purchasing an additional 648,382 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bank of Nova Scotia boosted its position in Fortis by 7.6% in the second quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia now owns 3,246,050 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $103,577,000 after purchasing an additional 230,089 shares during the last quarter. 50.44% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Fortis

Fortis Inc operates as an electric and gas utility company in Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean. It generates, transmits, and distributes electricity to approximately 422,000 retail customers in southeastern Arizona; and 96,000 retail customers in Arizona's Mohave and Santa Cruz counties with an aggregate capacity of 2,834 megawatts (MW), including 64 MW of solar capacity.

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