Northwest Natural (NYSE:NWN) Earns “Buy” Rating from Maxim Group

Maxim Group reaffirmed their buy rating on shares of Northwest Natural (NYSE:NWN) in a research report released on Thursday morning, AnalystRatings.com reports. The brokerage currently has a $79.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock.

Several other research firms have also issued reports on NWN. Wells Fargo & Co reissued a hold rating on shares of Northwest Natural in a research report on Wednesday, August 7th. Williams Capital raised shares of Northwest Natural from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Northwest Natural from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $78.00 price target for the company in a report on Wednesday, October 30th. Siebert Williams Shank raised shares of Northwest Natural from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $70.00 price target for the company in a report on Wednesday. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada raised their price target on shares of Northwest Natural from $67.00 to $69.00 and gave the company a sector perform rating in a report on Friday, September 20th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $68.86.

Shares of Northwest Natural stock traded up $0.08 during trading hours on Thursday, hitting $64.79. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 90,144 shares, compared to its average volume of 135,086. Northwest Natural has a 1-year low of $57.20 and a 1-year high of $73.50. The business has a fifty day moving average of $69.74 and a 200 day moving average of $69.74. The company has a market capitalization of $1.99 billion, a PE ratio of 27.81, a P/E/G ratio of 5.55 and a beta of 0.23. The company has a quick ratio of 0.65, a current ratio of 0.57 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.96.

Northwest Natural (NYSE:NWN) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, November 5th. The utilities provider reported ($0.63) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of ($0.53) by ($0.10). Northwest Natural had a return on equity of 8.58% and a net margin of 8.38%. The business had revenue of $90.30 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $98.07 million. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned ($0.41) EPS. Northwest Natural’s revenue was down 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, sell-side analysts anticipate that Northwest Natural will post 2.35 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, November 15th. Investors of record on Thursday, October 31st will be issued a dividend of $0.477 per share. This represents a $1.91 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.94%. This is a positive change from Northwest Natural’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, October 30th. Northwest Natural’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 81.97%.

In related news, insider Justin Palfreyman sold 488 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $71.18, for a total transaction of $34,735.84. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. 1.14% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in NWN. FMR LLC grew its holdings in Northwest Natural by 757.4% during the 1st quarter. FMR LLC now owns 5,273 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $346,000 after purchasing an additional 4,658 shares in the last quarter. 6 Meridian boosted its stake in Northwest Natural by 1.8% during the 2nd quarter. 6 Meridian now owns 11,508 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $800,000 after acquiring an additional 198 shares during the last quarter. National Investment Services Inc. WI bought a new position in Northwest Natural during the 2nd quarter valued at $747,000. Louisiana State Employees Retirement System boosted its stake in Northwest Natural by 4.6% during the 2nd quarter. Louisiana State Employees Retirement System now owns 11,300 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $792,000 after acquiring an additional 500 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund boosted its stake in Northwest Natural by 1.8% during the 2nd quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 11,372 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $790,000 after acquiring an additional 200 shares during the last quarter. 69.94% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Northwest Natural Company Profile

Northwest Natural Holding Company, through its subsidiary, Northwest Natural Gas Company, provides regulated natural gas distribution services to residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. It is also involved in the gas storage activities, water businesses, and other investments and activities.

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Analyst Recommendations for Northwest Natural (NYSE:NWN)

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