American Water Works (AWK) Upgraded to Buy by Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of American Water Works (NYSE:AWK) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Friday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $109.00 price objective on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “In the past 12 months, shares of American Water Works have outperformed its industry. American Water Works continues to add customers and expand its market reach through acquisitions and organic growth. The planned capital expenditure for 2018-2022 time period to improve its water and wastewater systems will enable the company to provide efficient services to its expanding customer base. New rates are boosting the top line of the company. However, the company is subject to stringent regulations, fluctuating weather patterns and risk of accidents due to old and soiled pipelines. High debt level of the company amid the rising interest environment is a headwind.”

A number of other equities analysts also recently weighed in on AWK. ValuEngine downgraded shares of American Water Works from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 28th. Evercore ISI assumed coverage on shares of American Water Works in a report on Monday, September 17th. They set an outperform rating and a $96.00 price target on the stock. Finally, Robert W. Baird upgraded shares of American Water Works from a neutral rating to an outperform rating and set a $103.00 price target on the stock in a report on Thursday. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $93.02.

Shares of NYSE AWK traded up $0.48 on Friday, reaching $97.80. 1,141,678 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 891,212. American Water Works has a 12 month low of $76.04 and a 12 month high of $98.18. The company has a market capitalization of $17.58 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 32.28, a P/E/G ratio of 3.78 and a beta of 0.12. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.29, a quick ratio of 0.43 and a current ratio of 0.46.

American Water Works (NYSE:AWK) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, October 31st. The utilities provider reported $1.20 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.16 by $0.04. American Water Works had a net margin of 13.31% and a return on equity of 10.57%. The business had revenue of $976.00 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $946.35 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.08 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.3% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts forecast that American Water Works will post 3.31 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 1st. Stockholders of record on Thursday, February 7th will be issued a dividend of $0.455 per share. This represents a $1.82 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.86%. American Water Works’s payout ratio is 60.07%.

In other news, Director Karl F. Kurz purchased 1,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 13th. The shares were purchased at an average price of $91.30 per share, for a total transaction of $91,300.00. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, COO Walter Lynch sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $91.69, for a total transaction of $458,450.00. Following the sale, the chief operating officer now owns 107,031 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,813,672.39. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.35% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Eqis Capital Management Inc. purchased a new stake in American Water Works in the second quarter worth approximately $203,000. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in American Water Works in the second quarter worth approximately $178,000. Comerica Bank boosted its holdings in American Water Works by 2.0% in the second quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 66,413 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $5,824,000 after purchasing an additional 1,283 shares during the last quarter. Connor Clark & Lunn Investment Management Ltd. purchased a new stake in American Water Works in the second quarter worth approximately $2,036,000. Finally, State of Wisconsin Investment Board boosted its holdings in American Water Works by 6.2% in the second quarter. State of Wisconsin Investment Board now owns 174,689 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $14,915,000 after purchasing an additional 10,250 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 83.08% of the company’s stock.

About American Water Works

American Water Works Company, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides water and wastewater services in the United States and Canada. It offers water and wastewater services to approximately 1,600 communities in 16 states. The company operates approximately 72 surface water treatment plants; 527 groundwater treatment plants; 8 combined treatment plants; 127 wastewater treatment plants; 50,382 miles of transmission, distribution, and collection mains and pipes; 1,103 groundwater wells; 1,428 water and wastewater pumping stations; 1,313 treated water storage facilities; and 80 dams.

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Analyst Recommendations for American Water Works (NYSE:AWK)

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