Southwest Gas (SWX) Upgraded to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Southwest Gas (NYSE:SWX) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday, January 5th. The brokerage presently has a $90.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target points to a potential upside of 18.81% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc. is an energy holding company based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc. owns two primary operating companies, Southwest Gas Corporation and Centuri Construction Group, Inc. Southwest Gas Corporation is a regulated utility and provides natural gas service to more than 1.9 million residential, commercial, and industrial customers in most of Arizona and Nevada, and parts of northeastern and southeastern California. Centuri Construction Group, Inc., is a full-service underground piping contractor that primarily provides utility companies with trenching and installation, replacement, and maintenance services for energy distribution systems, and develops industrial construction solutions. Centuri Construction Group Inc. operates in major markets across the United States and Canada. “

SWX has been the topic of several other research reports. Jefferies Group reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $70.00 price target on shares of Southwest Gas in a research note on Monday, October 16th. UBS Group upgraded Southwest Gas from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $85.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, December 19th. KeyCorp restated a “hold” rating on shares of Southwest Gas in a research note on Friday, October 20th. Finally, Citigroup upped their price objective on Southwest Gas from $79.00 to $82.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Monday, November 20th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $83.00.

Shares of Southwest Gas (NYSE SWX) traded down $1.06 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $75.75. The stock had a trading volume of 147,700 shares, compared to its average volume of 159,256. Southwest Gas has a 52 week low of $72.32 and a 52 week high of $86.87. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.01, a current ratio of 0.82 and a quick ratio of 0.82. The stock has a market capitalization of $3,615.69, a P/E ratio of 22.28, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.57 and a beta of 0.61.

Southwest Gas (NYSE:SWX) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, November 7th. The utilities provider reported $0.21 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.14 by $0.07. Southwest Gas had a return on equity of 9.56% and a net margin of 6.64%. The business had revenue of $593.15 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $579.40 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.05 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 9.8% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts expect that Southwest Gas will post 3.38 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, VP Kenneth J. Kenny sold 600 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, November 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.17, for a total transaction of $48,102.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 16,746 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,342,526.82. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, VP Gregory J. Peterson sold 1,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.72, for a total value of $85,720.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 5,120 shares of company stock valued at $423,096. 0.99% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. State Street Corp lifted its holdings in shares of Southwest Gas by 3.6% in the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 1,654,461 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $120,875,000 after purchasing an additional 57,189 shares in the last quarter. Tributary Capital Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Southwest Gas by 8.2% during the third quarter. Tributary Capital Management LLC now owns 21,000 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,630,000 after acquiring an additional 1,600 shares in the last quarter. Shell Asset Management Co. raised its holdings in shares of Southwest Gas by 25.1% during the third quarter. Shell Asset Management Co. now owns 58,915 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,862,000 after acquiring an additional 11,816 shares in the last quarter. AJO LP raised its holdings in shares of Southwest Gas by 279.6% during the second quarter. AJO LP now owns 399,472 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $29,185,000 after acquiring an additional 294,244 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Brookfield Asset Management Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Southwest Gas during the second quarter worth $1,563,000. Institutional investors own 77.41% of the company’s stock.

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About Southwest Gas

Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc, formerly Southwest Gas Corporation, is engaged in the business of purchasing, distributing and transporting natural gas. The Company operates through two segments: natural gas operations and construction services, which includes the operations of the Company’s subsidiary, Centuri Construction Group, Inc (Centuri).

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