Northwest Natural (NYSE:NWN) Given “Buy” Rating at Maxim Group

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Maxim Group restated their buy rating on shares of Northwest Natural (NYSE:NWN) in a research report sent to investors on Thursday, AnalystRatings.com reports. The brokerage currently has a $79.00 price objective on the utilities provider’s stock.

Other equities research analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. Siebert Williams Shank raised Northwest Natural from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $70.00 price objective for the company in a report on Wednesday. Wells Fargo & Co reissued a hold rating on shares of Northwest Natural in a report on Wednesday, August 7th. ValuEngine downgraded Northwest Natural from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Friday, November 1st. Zacks Investment Research raised Northwest Natural from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $78.00 price objective for the company in a report on Wednesday, October 30th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada increased their price objective on Northwest Natural from $67.00 to $69.00 and gave the company a sector perform rating in a report on Friday, September 20th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $68.86.

NYSE NWN traded up $0.08 during trading hours on Thursday, reaching $64.79. 90,144 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 135,086. The company’s 50-day moving average is $69.74 and its two-hundred day moving average is $69.74. Northwest Natural has a one year low of $57.20 and a one year high of $73.50. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.96, a quick ratio of 0.65 and a current ratio of 0.57. The company has a market capitalization of $1.99 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 27.81, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 5.55 and a beta of 0.23.

Northwest Natural (NYSE:NWN) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, November 5th. The utilities provider reported ($0.63) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of ($0.53) by ($0.10). Northwest Natural had a return on equity of 8.58% and a net margin of 8.38%. The business had revenue of $90.30 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $98.07 million. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted ($0.41) earnings per share. Northwest Natural’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.0% compared to the same quarter last year. Research analysts predict that Northwest Natural will post 2.35 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, November 15th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, October 31st will be issued a $0.477 dividend. This represents a $1.91 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.94%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, October 30th. This is an increase from Northwest Natural’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. Northwest Natural’s dividend payout ratio is presently 81.97%.

In other Northwest Natural news, insider Justin Palfreyman sold 488 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $71.18, for a total transaction of $34,735.84. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Corporate insiders own 1.14% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Strs Ohio acquired a new stake in Northwest Natural during the 2nd quarter valued at $340,000. Northern Trust Corp lifted its holdings in Northwest Natural by 3.6% during the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 380,709 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $26,459,000 after purchasing an additional 13,331 shares during the last quarter. DE Burlo Group Inc. acquired a new stake in Northwest Natural during the 2nd quarter valued at $208,000. Verition Fund Management LLC increased its position in Northwest Natural by 225.6% during the 2nd quarter. Verition Fund Management LLC now owns 39,070 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,715,000 after buying an additional 27,070 shares during the period. Finally, BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA bought a new position in Northwest Natural during the 2nd quarter worth $1,021,000. 69.94% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Northwest Natural Company Profile

Northwest Natural Holding Company, through its subsidiary, Northwest Natural Gas Company, provides regulated natural gas distribution services to residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. It is also involved in the gas storage activities, water businesses, and other investments and activities.

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Analyst Recommendations for Northwest Natural (NYSE:NWN)

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