J P Morgan Chase & Co Analysts Give Westar Energy, Inc. (WR) a $58.00 Price Target

J P Morgan Chase & Co set a $58.00 target price on Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE:WR) in a research report sent to investors on Thursday morning. The brokerage currently has a buy rating on the utilities provider’s stock.

WR has been the topic of a number of other reports. Zacks Investment Research raised Westar Energy from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, August 30th. BidaskClub raised Westar Energy from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Saturday, August 5th. Wells Fargo & Company raised Westar Energy from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and set a $55.00 price target on the stock in a report on Monday, October 2nd. Evercore ISI raised Westar Energy from an in-line rating to an outperform rating and upped their price target for the company from $49.00 to $53.00 in a report on Tuesday, July 11th. Finally, Wolfe Research started coverage on Westar Energy in a report on Wednesday, July 26th. They set an outperform rating on the stock. Two analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $55.33.

Shares of Westar Energy (WR) opened at 52.06 on Thursday. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $50.75 and its 200 day moving average price is $51.88. The stock has a market capitalization of $7.40 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.87 and a beta of 0.39. Westar Energy has a 12 month low of $49.20 and a 12 month high of $57.50.

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 8th. The utilities provider reported $0.50 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.56 by ($0.06). The business had revenue of $609.32 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $633.96 million. Westar Energy had a net margin of 13.33% and a return on equity of 8.87%. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.51 earnings per share. Analysts expect that Westar Energy will post $2.50 EPS for the current year.

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The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, October 2nd. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 8th were issued a $0.40 dividend. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.07%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, September 7th. Westar Energy’s dividend payout ratio is 67.23%.

In other Westar Energy news, SVP Bruce A. Akin sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.50, for a total value of $257,500.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, VP Larry D. Irick sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.17, for a total value of $511,700.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 31,500 shares of company stock worth $1,611,715. 0.70% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. State Board of Administration of Florida Retirement System lifted its holdings in Westar Energy by 0.3% in the second quarter. State Board of Administration of Florida Retirement System now owns 221,473 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $11,742,000 after acquiring an additional 721 shares during the period. First Trust Advisors LP lifted its holdings in Westar Energy by 69.2% in the second quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 902,806 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $47,867,000 after acquiring an additional 369,234 shares during the period. Ameriprise Financial Inc. lifted its holdings in Westar Energy by 270.4% in the second quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 1,681,339 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $89,148,000 after acquiring an additional 1,227,431 shares during the period. Sii Investments Inc. WI lifted its holdings in Westar Energy by 4.9% in the first quarter. Sii Investments Inc. WI now owns 4,495 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $242,000 after acquiring an additional 211 shares during the period. Finally, Seven Eight Capital LP lifted its holdings in Westar Energy by 6.6% in the second quarter. Seven Eight Capital LP now owns 45,300 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,402,000 after acquiring an additional 2,800 shares during the period. 73.65% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Westar Energy

Westar Energy, Inc is an electric utility. The Company provides electric generation, transmission and distribution services. The Company provides these services in central and northeastern Kansas, including the cities of Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan, Salina and Hutchinson. Its subsidiary, Kansas Gas and Electric Company (KGE), provides these services in south-central and southeastern Kansas, including the city of Wichita.

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