Avista (NYSE:AVA) Upgraded to Buy by Zacks Investment Research


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Avista (NYSE:AVA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports. The brokerage presently has a $52.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price suggests a potential upside of 12.90% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Avista Corporation is an energy company involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy as well as other energy-related businesses. Avista Utilities is its operating division that provides electric service customers and natural gas customers. Its service territory covers in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and parts of southern and eastern Oregon. Alaska Energy and Resources Company is an Avista subsidiary that provides retail electric service in the city and borough of Juneau, Alaska, through its subsidiary Alaska Electric Light and Power Company. “

Several other equities research analysts have also issued reports on AVA. Sidoti reiterated a “neutral” rating and set a $48.00 target price on shares of Avista in a research report on Thursday, April 1st. Bank of America lowered shares of Avista from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating and set a $37.00 price objective for the company. in a report on Friday, January 8th. Williams Capital restated a “buy” rating on shares of Avista in a report on Friday, April 23rd. Finally, TheStreet upgraded shares of Avista from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a report on Thursday, March 4th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has issued a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $45.67.

NYSE AVA traded up $0.04 on Tuesday, hitting $46.06. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 469,748 shares, compared to its average volume of 484,118. The company has a quick ratio of 0.49, a current ratio of 0.63 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.04. Avista has a 1-year low of $32.26 and a 1-year high of $49.14. The company’s 50-day moving average is $46.96 and its 200 day moving average is $40.51. The firm has a market cap of $3.19 billion, a PE ratio of 25.45, a PEG ratio of 3.68 and a beta of 0.54.

Avista (NYSE:AVA) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, February 23rd. The utilities provider reported $0.85 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.79 by $0.06. Avista had a net margin of 9.31% and a return on equity of 6.19%. The firm had revenue of $380.42 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $376.60 million. On average, equities analysts expect that Avista will post 1.84 EPS for the current year.

In related news, Chairman Scott L. Morris sold 9,410 shares of Avista stock in a transaction on Friday, February 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $40.24, for a total value of $378,658.40. Following the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 176,841 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $7,116,081.84. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, VP Bryan Alden Cox sold 2,056 shares of Avista stock in a transaction on Friday, February 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $40.21, for a total transaction of $82,671.76. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 2,454 shares in the company, valued at $98,675.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders sold 34,988 shares of company stock worth $1,526,389. 0.98% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Dean Investment Associates LLC increased its position in Avista by 21.4% during the 1st quarter. Dean Investment Associates LLC now owns 69,022 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,296,000 after purchasing an additional 12,149 shares during the period. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. increased its position in Avista by 3.7% during the 1st quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 52,606 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,512,000 after purchasing an additional 1,873 shares during the period. Symons Capital Management Inc. increased its position in Avista by 26.6% during the 1st quarter. Symons Capital Management Inc. now owns 13,526 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $646,000 after purchasing an additional 2,843 shares during the period. Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its position in Avista by 46.2% during the 1st quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 208,743 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $9,967,000 after purchasing an additional 65,964 shares during the period. Finally, Chartwell Investment Partners LLC increased its position in Avista by 0.9% during the 1st quarter. Chartwell Investment Partners LLC now owns 219,177 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $10,466,000 after purchasing an additional 1,997 shares during the period. 81.92% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Avista Company Profile

Avista Corporation operates as an electric and natural gas utility company. It operates in two segments, Avista Utilities and AEL&P. The Avista Utilities segment provides electric distribution and transmission, and natural gas distribution services in parts of eastern Washington and northern Idaho; and natural gas distribution services in parts of northeastern and southwestern Oregon, as well as generates electricity in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Montana.

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