Fortis (NYSE:FTS) Cut to “Sell” at Zacks Investment Research

Fortis (NYSE:FTS) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report released on Wednesday, Zacks.com reports.

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. “

Several other equities analysts also recently weighed in on the stock. Raymond James reiterated a “market perform” rating and issued a $58.00 price target on shares of Fortis in a report on Tuesday, May 4th. Bank of America lowered Fortis from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating and set a $51.00 price objective on the stock. in a research report on Wednesday, July 7th. Scotiabank lowered their price objective on Fortis from C$61.00 to C$60.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, July 9th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets lowered Fortis from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and lowered their price objective for the stock from $60.00 to $57.00 in a research report on Tuesday, June 1st. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company. Fortis currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $55.83.

Shares of FTS traded up $0.09 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $44.45. 298,962 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 383,532. Fortis has a 1-year low of $38.49 and a 1-year high of $47.02. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.25, a current ratio of 0.65 and a quick ratio of 0.56. The company has a market capitalization of $20.95 billion, a P/E ratio of 22.01, a PEG ratio of 3.17 and a beta of 0.25. The firm’s 50 day simple moving average is $45.32.

Fortis (NYSE:FTS) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, May 5th. The utilities provider reported $0.77 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.60 by $0.17. Fortis had a net margin of 13.79% and a return on equity of 6.54%. The company had revenue of $1.95 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.39 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.68 EPS. On average, sell-side analysts predict that Fortis will post 2.23 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Quantbot Technologies LP lifted its position in shares of Fortis by 51.0% during the 1st quarter. Quantbot Technologies LP now owns 30,423 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,319,000 after buying an additional 10,277 shares in the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp lifted its holdings in Fortis by 14.1% in the 1st quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 154,401 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $6,696,000 after purchasing an additional 19,034 shares in the last quarter. Swiss National Bank lifted its holdings in Fortis by 1.3% in the 1st quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 1,885,482 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $81,778,000 after purchasing an additional 24,100 shares in the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP lifted its holdings in Fortis by 0.5% in the 4th quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 168,912 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $6,895,000 after purchasing an additional 800 shares in the last quarter. Finally, QS Investors LLC increased its stake in shares of Fortis by 43.7% in the 1st quarter. QS Investors LLC now owns 15,615 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $678,000 after acquiring an additional 4,751 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 46.59% of the company’s stock.

About Fortis

Fortis Inc operates as an electric and gas utility company in Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean countries. It generates, transmits, and distributes electricity to approximately 433,000 retail customers in southeastern Arizona; and 98,000 retail customers in Arizona's Mohave and Santa Cruz counties with an aggregate capacity of 3,233 megawatts (MW), including 59 MW of solar capacity.

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