American States Water Company (AWR) Lifted to “Strong-Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

American States Water Company (NYSE:AWR) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Monday, October 23rd. The brokerage presently has a $64.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective suggests a potential upside of 20.89% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Shares of American States Water have outperformed the industry in the last 12 months.  The company’s strength lies in an expanding customer base, extensive water rights and strong credit ratings. Further, it makes systematic investments to strengthen existing infrastructure. In addition, new water rates will help to boost its margins. American Sates Water’s major drawback is its dependence on a single state, California, for the majority of its earnings. Plus its highly regulated operations and risk of water contamination leading to increase in operating costs could adversely impact results.”

A number of other research firms have also recently weighed in on AWR. Wells Fargo & Company raised their price objective on American States Water from $46.00 to $48.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 3rd. BidaskClub raised American States Water from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 3rd. Finally, US Capital Advisors reissued a “hold” rating on shares of American States Water in a research report on Monday, July 17th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating, one has assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. American States Water has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $51.00.

Shares of American States Water (NYSE AWR) traded down $0.73 during trading hours on Monday, hitting $52.94. The stock had a trading volume of 137,700 shares, compared to its average volume of 134,591. American States Water has a twelve month low of $39.50 and a twelve month high of $56.31. The stock has a market cap of $1,968.57, a P/E ratio of 29.33, a PEG ratio of 6.26 and a beta of 0.46. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a current ratio of 0.97 and a quick ratio of 1.03.

American States Water (NYSE:AWR) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Monday, November 6th. The utilities provider reported $0.57 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.58 by ($0.01). The company had revenue of $124.40 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $145.78 million. American States Water had a net margin of 15.28% and a return on equity of 13.34%. The company’s revenue was up .5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.59 earnings per share. sell-side analysts forecast that American States Water will post 1.72 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In other American States Water news, insider Denise L. Kruger sold 1,250 shares of American States Water stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.88, for a total transaction of $67,350.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 8,216 shares in the company, valued at approximately $442,678.08. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Anne M. Holloway sold 5,450 shares of American States Water stock in a transaction dated Monday, September 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $36.95, for a total value of $201,377.50. Following the transaction, the director now owns 48,963 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,809,182.85. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 15,473 shares of company stock valued at $703,859. 1.49% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in AWR. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. raised its stake in shares of American States Water by 52.4% during the 1st quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 26,975 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,195,000 after buying an additional 9,274 shares during the last quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of American States Water by 9.3% during the 1st quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 5,280 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $235,000 after buying an additional 450 shares during the last quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of American States Water by 42.8% during the 1st quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 15,918 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $705,000 after buying an additional 4,774 shares during the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of American States Water by 3.5% in the 1st quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 318,122 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $14,093,000 after purchasing an additional 10,760 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Teachers Advisors LLC increased its stake in shares of American States Water by 3.7% in the 1st quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 62,895 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,786,000 after purchasing an additional 2,245 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 63.73% of the company’s stock.

About American States Water

American States Water Company (AWR) is a holding company. The Company is the parent company of Golden State Water Company (GSWC) and American States Utility Services, Inc (ASUS), as well as ASUS’ subsidiaries, such as Fort Bliss Water Services Company (FBWS), Terrapin Utility Services, Inc (TUS), Old Dominion Utility Services, Inc (ODUS), Palmetto State Utility Services, Inc (PSUS) and Old North Utility Services, Inc (ONUS).

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