NiSource Inc. (NYSE:NI) Sees Significant Growth in Short Interest

NiSource Inc. (NYSE:NI) was the recipient of a significant growth in short interest in the month of August. As of August 31st, there was short interest totalling 16,490,000 shares, a growth of 29.8% from the August 15th total of 12,700,000 shares. Approximately 4.2% of the shares of the company are short sold. Based on an average trading volume of 3,070,000 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 5.4 days.

Shares of NYSE:NI opened at $24.00 on Wednesday. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $25.05 and its 200-day moving average price is $24.99. NiSource has a 12-month low of $21.09 and a 12-month high of $26.60. The stock has a market capitalization of $9.42 billion, a P/E ratio of 46.15, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.96 and a beta of 0.32. The company has a current ratio of 0.81, a quick ratio of 0.62 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.88.

NiSource (NYSE:NI) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 4th. The utilities provider reported $0.13 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.13. The firm had revenue of $986.00 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.04 billion. NiSource had a return on equity of 11.57% and a net margin of 5.75%. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.13 earnings per share. As a group, research analysts predict that NiSource will post 1.35 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, November 19th. Investors of record on Friday, October 29th will be paid a $0.22 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, October 28th. This represents a $0.88 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.67%. NiSource’s payout ratio is presently 66.67%.

In related news, COO Pablo Vegas sold 5,384 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, July 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $24.54, for a total value of $132,123.36. Following the sale, the chief operating officer now owns 101,224 shares in the company, valued at $2,484,036.96. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, CFO Donald Eugene Brown sold 19,762 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, August 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $25.68, for a total value of $507,488.16. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 145,938 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,747,687.84. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.37% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Deutsche Bank AG grew its stake in shares of NiSource by 32.7% in the second quarter. Deutsche Bank AG now owns 18,903,542 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $463,136,000 after purchasing an additional 4,654,683 shares during the last quarter. MUFG Securities EMEA plc bought a new stake in NiSource during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $3,528,000. Quantitative Investment Management LLC bought a new stake in NiSource during the 1st quarter valued at approximately $1,848,000. Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd. boosted its position in NiSource by 17.7% during the 1st quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd. now owns 124,840 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,010,000 after acquiring an additional 18,749 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Quantitative Systematic Strategies LLC bought a new stake in NiSource during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $1,194,000. 93.62% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

A number of research firms have weighed in on NI. Zacks Investment Research upgraded NiSource from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $27.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, July 27th. Barclays raised their price target on NiSource from $26.00 to $30.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 25th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. According to MarketBeat.com, the stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $26.33.

About NiSource

NiSource, Inc is a holding company, which engages in energy solutions. Through its subsidiaries, it provides natural gas, electricity, and other products and services. It operates through the following segments: Gas Distribution Operations and Electric Operations. The Gas Distribution Operations segment focuses in the natural gas service and transportation for residential, commercial, and industrial customers.

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