Unitil (NYSE:UTL) Upgraded to “Buy” by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Unitil (NYSE:UTLGet Rating) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Saturday morning, Zacks.com reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $64.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Unitil Corporation is a registered public utility holding company and the parent company of the Unitil System. “

Several other equities analysts have also weighed in on the company. StockNews.com upgraded Unitil from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Monday, May 23rd. Bank of America upgraded Unitil from an underperform rating to a neutral rating and boosted their price objective for the stock from $45.00 to $50.00 in a research note on Thursday, February 3rd. They noted that the move was a valuation call.

Shares of UTL opened at $56.32 on Friday. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $52.36 and a 200-day moving average price of $48.68. Unitil has a 12-month low of $40.53 and a 12-month high of $58.87. The company has a current ratio of 1.03, a quick ratio of 0.97 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.07. The company has a market cap of $902.87 million, a PE ratio of 22.89, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.50 and a beta of 0.49.

Unitil (NYSE:UTLGet Rating) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, May 3rd. The utilities provider reported $1.35 EPS for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.35. The company had revenue of $192.60 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $160.00 million. Unitil had a return on equity of 8.83% and a net margin of 7.34%. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $1.26 EPS. As a group, analysts predict that Unitil will post 2.55 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, May 27th. Stockholders of record on Friday, May 13th were issued a dividend of $0.39 per share. This represents a $1.56 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.77%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, May 12th. Unitil’s dividend payout ratio is currently 63.41%.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in UTL. Captrust Financial Advisors lifted its holdings in Unitil by 75.9% in the first quarter. Captrust Financial Advisors now owns 1,384 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $69,000 after acquiring an additional 597 shares during the last quarter. Ellevest Inc. lifted its stake in Unitil by 9,793.8% during the fourth quarter. Ellevest Inc. now owns 1,583 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $73,000 after purchasing an additional 1,567 shares in the last quarter. Quantbot Technologies LP increased its position in shares of Unitil by 239.5% during the first quarter. Quantbot Technologies LP now owns 2,302 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $114,000 after acquiring an additional 1,624 shares during the period. King Wealth purchased a new stake in shares of Unitil during the first quarter worth $209,000. Finally, GSA Capital Partners LLP purchased a new stake in shares of Unitil during the first quarter worth $209,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.66% of the company’s stock.

About Unitil (Get Rating)

Unitil Corporation, a public utility holding company, engages in the distribution of electricity and natural gas. It operates through three segments: Utility Electric Operations, Utility Gas Operations, and Non-Regulated. The company distributes electricity in the southeastern seacoast and state capital regions of New Hampshire, and the greater Fitchburg area of north central Massachusetts; and distributes natural gas in southeastern New Hampshire and portions of southern and central Maine, including the city of Portland and the Lewiston-Auburn area, as well as the greater Fitchburg area of north central Massachusetts.

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