Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Duke Energy (DUK) to Sell

Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a note issued to investors on Wednesday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Duke Energy faces challenges from severe weather conditions, which may result in infrastructure damage and break down. Potential volatility in market prices of fuel, electricity and other renewable energy commodities could also create operational risks. Moreover, massive debt levels can turn out to be a major headwind for the company, going ahead. Currently, its strategy includes generation of cleaner energy, as a result of which it is anticipated to incur environmental compliance cost of $2.78 billion for the 2019-2023 period. Such costs may weigh on the company’s bottom-line growth. However, it expects to invest about $37 billion in its overall growth projects in the 2019-2023-time frame. This investment plan will drive earnings base growth in the company’s combined electric and gas businesses by approximately 6%, over the next five years. Duke Energy also outperformed the industry in the past twelve months.”

A number of other brokerages also recently issued reports on DUK. Bank of America upped their price target on Duke Energy from $89.00 to $91.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Monday, March 11th. Morgan Stanley upped their price target on Duke Energy from $85.00 to $88.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a report on Tuesday, February 12th. ValuEngine downgraded Duke Energy from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, April 3rd. Credit Suisse Group downgraded Duke Energy from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Friday, February 15th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $90.00 price target on Duke Energy and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Monday. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $88.70.



NYSE DUK opened at $87.26 on Wednesday. Duke Energy has a 12 month low of $71.96 and a 12 month high of $91.67. The firm has a market capitalization of $63.41 billion, a PE ratio of 18.49, a P/E/G ratio of 3.64 and a beta of 0.06. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.25, a quick ratio of 0.49 and a current ratio of 0.75.

Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) last released its earnings results on Thursday, May 9th. The utilities provider reported $1.24 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.21 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $6.16 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $6.39 billion. Duke Energy had a return on equity of 7.70% and a net margin of 12.00%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up .5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $1.28 earnings per share. As a group, equities analysts anticipate that Duke Energy will post 4.95 earnings per share for the current year.

In other Duke Energy news, Chairman Lynn J. Good sold 15,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $89.92, for a total value of $1,348,800.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, SVP Dwight L. Jacobs sold 1,700 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.92, for a total value of $146,064.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 6,091 shares in the company, valued at approximately $523,338.72. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 22,731 shares of company stock worth $2,027,567. 0.09% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of DUK. Canton Hathaway LLC bought a new position in shares of Duke Energy in the first quarter worth about $25,000. Harvest Group Wealth Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Duke Energy in the first quarter worth about $26,000. Proficio Capital Partners LLC raised its stake in shares of Duke Energy by 59.0% in the fourth quarter. Proficio Capital Partners LLC now owns 442 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $38,000 after buying an additional 164 shares during the period. Riverview Trust Co bought a new position in shares of Duke Energy in the first quarter worth about $39,000. Finally, Glassman Wealth Services raised its stake in shares of Duke Energy by 35.2% in the first quarter. Glassman Wealth Services now owns 449 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $40,000 after buying an additional 117 shares during the period. 61.10% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Duke Energy

Duke Energy Corp. engages in distribution of natural gas and energy related services. It operates through the following segments: Electric Utilities and Infrastructure, Gas Utilities and Infrastructure, and Commercial Renewables. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure segment conducts operations primarily through the regulated public utilities of Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress, Duke Energy Florida, Duke Energy Indiana and Duke Energy Ohio.

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