Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of PPL (NYSE:PPL) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Wednesday, Zacks.com reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $32.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “PPL Corp is poised to gain from its capital investment plan that focuses on infrastructure projects for generation, transmission and distribution. It is going to invest nearly $15 billion through 2019-2023. The company expects to recover 70% of the investment by six months and 80% within a year, which will provide strong earnings visibility. It has re-established its hedge levels to offset any near-term decline in GBP. The company’s asset portfolio and business model can adapt to various market scenarios. However, shares of PPL Corp have underperformed the industry in the past year. The company faces risks related to operating outside the United States and changes in U.K. laws and regulations. Rising debt levels are concerns. Unplanned outages at power plants may increase expenses and lower revenues as well as affect financial performance.”

A number of other equities analysts have also issued reports on PPL. Bank of America raised shares of PPL from an underperform rating to a neutral rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 7th. Evercore ISI set a $31.00 price objective on PPL and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 7th. Morgan Stanley set a $30.00 price objective on PPL and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Friday, August 16th. GMP Securities reaffirmed an average rating and issued a $59.00 price objective on shares of PPL in a research note on Wednesday, August 7th. Finally, ValuEngine lowered PPL from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Thursday, August 1st. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $36.60.

PPL traded up $0.10 on Wednesday, reaching $30.41. The company had a trading volume of 43,452 shares, compared to its average volume of 4,643,218. PPL has a 1 year low of $27.31 and a 1 year high of $32.88. The stock has a market capitalization of $21.89 billion, a PE ratio of 12.67 and a beta of 0.50. The company has a quick ratio of 0.48, a current ratio of 0.55 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.75. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $30.46 and a 200-day moving average price of $30.68.

PPL (NYSE:PPL) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 6th. The utilities provider reported $0.58 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.56 by $0.02. PPL had a net margin of 22.97% and a return on equity of 14.57%. The firm had revenue of $1.80 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.86 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.55 earnings per share. PPL’s quarterly revenue was down 2.4% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, analysts expect that PPL will post 2.42 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, October 1st. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, September 10th were issued a dividend of $0.4125 per share. The ex-dividend date was Monday, September 9th. This represents a $1.65 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 5.43%. PPL’s dividend payout ratio is presently 68.75%.

In other news, insider Philip Swift sold 3,782 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, July 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $30.26, for a total transaction of $114,443.32. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Corporate insiders own 0.34% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in PPL. TRUE Private Wealth Advisors purchased a new position in shares of PPL during the second quarter valued at approximately $25,000. Kings Point Capital Management acquired a new position in shares of PPL in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $28,000. Thor Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of PPL in the 1st quarter worth approximately $35,000. Kavar Capital Partners LLC acquired a new position in shares of PPL in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $35,000. Finally, Manchester Financial Inc. acquired a new position in shares of PPL in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $38,000. 71.76% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About PPL

PPL Corporation, a utility holding company, delivers electricity and natural gas in the United States and the United Kingdom. The company operates through three segments: U.K. Regulated, Kentucky Regulated, and Pennsylvania Regulated. It serves approximately 414,000 electric and 328,000 natural gas customers in Louisville and adjacent areas in Kentucky; 527,000 electric customers in central, southeastern, and western Kentucky; and 28,000 electric customers in 5 counties in southwestern Virginia.

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