WEC Energy Group, Inc. (NYSE:WEC) Stock Rating Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of WEC Energy Group, Inc. (NYSE:WEC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday, October 27th. The brokerage currently has $75.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of WEC Energy have outperformed the industry in the last 12 months. Its third-quarter earnings were higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate but total revenues lagged it. The company is gaining from its cost control initiatives. Thanks to ongoing improvement in economic conditions in its service territories, WEC Energy at present is serving more customers than the year-ago level. Its investments in infrastructure projects will help it meet increasing customer demand and improve service reliability. However, in first nine months of 2017, electricity delivered to residential customers and large commercial and industrial customers declined from the year-ago period due to less favorable weather. Regulatory compliance and any delay in the completion of ongoing capital projects could increase expenses and reduce profitability.”

Several other research firms have also commented on WEC. KeyCorp reaffirmed a hold rating on shares of WEC Energy Group in a report on Friday, September 1st. BidaskClub raised shares of WEC Energy Group from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Tuesday, August 22nd. Finally, Bank of America Corporation assumed coverage on shares of WEC Energy Group in a report on Tuesday, October 24th. They issued a neutral rating and a $67.00 price target on the stock. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. WEC Energy Group has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $65.43.

Shares of WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC) traded up $1.18 during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $69.53. 2,485,300 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,652,982. The stock has a market cap of $21,569.59, a PE ratio of 22.48, a P/E/G ratio of 4.30 and a beta of 0.14. The company has a quick ratio of 0.38, a current ratio of 0.60 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.96. WEC Energy Group has a 12 month low of $54.83 and a 12 month high of $69.58.

WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The utilities provider reported $0.68 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.67 by $0.01. WEC Energy Group had a net margin of 12.79% and a return on equity of 10.62%. The business had revenue of $1.66 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.68 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.69 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 3.2% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts anticipate that WEC Energy Group will post 3.09 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 1st. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, November 14th will be paid a $0.52 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, November 13th. This represents a $2.08 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.99%. WEC Energy Group’s dividend payout ratio is presently 68.42%.

In other news, Director Gale E. Klappa sold 10,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $64.86, for a total value of $648,600.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, VP Susan H. Martin sold 15,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.00, for a total transaction of $990,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 81,690 shares of company stock valued at $5,316,874 over the last quarter. Company insiders own 0.97% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. OppenheimerFunds Inc. lifted its position in shares of WEC Energy Group by 10.8% during the first quarter. OppenheimerFunds Inc. now owns 15,943 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $967,000 after buying an additional 1,553 shares during the last quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP lifted its position in shares of WEC Energy Group by 314.7% during the first quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 58,668 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,557,000 after buying an additional 44,520 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC lifted its position in shares of WEC Energy Group by 0.6% during the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 185,405 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $11,241,000 after buying an additional 1,155 shares during the last quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC lifted its position in shares of WEC Energy Group by 2.3% during the first quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 574,930 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $34,858,000 after buying an additional 12,810 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Thrivent Financial For Lutherans lifted its position in shares of WEC Energy Group by 11.9% during the first quarter. Thrivent Financial For Lutherans now owns 12,807 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $776,000 after buying an additional 1,360 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 70.30% of the company’s stock.

About WEC Energy Group

WEC Energy Group, Inc was a diversified holding company with natural gas and electric utility operations, an approximately 60% equity ownership interest in American Transmission Company LLC, and non-utility electric operations through its We Power business, as of December 31, 2016. Its segments include Wisconsin; Illinois; Other States; Electric Transmission; We Power, and Corporate and Other.

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