Unitil (NYSE:UTL) Lifted to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Unitil (NYSE:UTL) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Friday, Zacks.com reports. The firm currently has a $64.00 price objective on the utilities provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price indicates a potential upside of 12.80% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Unitil Corporation is a registered public utility holding company and the parent company of the Unitil System. “

Separately, Bank of America reiterated an “underperform” rating and set a $49.00 price target on shares of Unitil in a report on Wednesday, May 12th.

Shares of NYSE:UTL opened at $56.74 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.28, a current ratio of 1.08 and a quick ratio of 1.00. Unitil has a twelve month low of $32.80 and a twelve month high of $59.32. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $53.49. The firm has a market capitalization of $853.54 million, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.74, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 5.90 and a beta of 0.57.

Unitil (NYSE:UTL) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, May 4th. The utilities provider reported $1.26 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.20 by $0.06. Unitil had a return on equity of 9.22% and a net margin of 8.41%. The business had revenue of $138.80 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $161.00 million. As a group, research analysts anticipate that Unitil will post 2.43 EPS for the current year.

In other Unitil news, SVP Todd R. Black sold 6,309 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, March 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $46.16, for a total value of $291,223.44. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 22,776 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,051,340.16. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 2.02% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. BlackRock Inc. grew its stake in shares of Unitil by 7.3% during the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 1,343,744 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $61,395,000 after acquiring an additional 91,420 shares during the period. Caisse DE Depot ET Placement DU Quebec grew its stake in shares of Unitil by 22.8% during the 1st quarter. Caisse DE Depot ET Placement DU Quebec now owns 1,165,066 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $53,232,000 after acquiring an additional 216,597 shares during the period. Aristotle Capital Boston LLC grew its stake in shares of Unitil by 4.0% during the 1st quarter. Aristotle Capital Boston LLC now owns 697,689 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $31,877,000 after acquiring an additional 27,028 shares during the period. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company grew its stake in shares of Unitil by 16.9% during the 1st quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 296,433 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $13,544,000 after acquiring an additional 42,785 shares during the period. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC grew its stake in shares of Unitil by 8.7% during the 1st quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 247,199 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $11,294,000 after acquiring an additional 19,707 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 69.79% of the company’s stock.

Unitil Company Profile

Unitil Corporation, a public utility holding company, engages in the distribution of electricity and natural gas. It operates through three segments: Utility Gas Operations, Utility Electric Operations, and Non-Regulated. The company distributes electricity in the southeastern seacoast and state capital regions of New Hampshire, and the greater Fitchburg area of north central Massachusetts; and distributes natural gas in southeastern New Hampshire and portions of southern and central Maine, including the city of Portland and the Lewiston-Auburn area, as well as the greater Fitchburg area of north central Massachusetts.

Featured Story: What economic reports are most valuable to investors?

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Unitil (UTL)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Receive News & Ratings for Unitil Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Unitil and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.