Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Monday, Zacks.com reports. They currently have $97.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock.
According to Zacks, “WEC Energy’s shares have outperformed the industry in the past 12 months. It continues to record increase in electric and natural gas customer volume. Its long-term investments to strengthen infrastructure will enable WEC Energy to meet higher demand and improve service reliability. It expects long-term earnings growth in the range of 5-7% per year, with more than 99% of the bottom line being generated from regulated operations. The company has been consistently hiking dividends and projects annual dividends to grow in sync with its earnings at a payout ratio of 65-70%. However, a significant portion of its electricity is generated from coal-fired units. Some coal units might be subject to emission regulation, rendering them uneconomical to maintain and operate. Its dependence on financial performance of subsidiaries is a concern.”
Several other research analysts also recently weighed in on WEC. KeyCorp began coverage on WEC Energy Group in a research note on Tuesday, June 4th. They issued a sector weight rating on the stock. UBS Group lifted their target price on WEC Energy Group from $87.00 to $94.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a research note on Friday, September 6th. Wells Fargo & Co lifted their target price on WEC Energy Group from $93.00 to $102.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 27th. Bank of America downgraded WEC Energy Group from a neutral rating to an underperform rating and lifted their target price for the company from $82.00 to $85.00 in a research note on Monday, June 24th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group downgraded WEC Energy Group from a neutral rating to an underperform rating and lifted their target price for the company from $84.00 to $85.00 in a research note on Tuesday, August 6th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $82.91.
WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC) last released its quarterly earnings results on Monday, August 5th. The utilities provider reported $0.74 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.70 by $0.04. WEC Energy Group had a return on equity of 11.00% and a net margin of 14.24%. The company had revenue of $1.59 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.65 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.73 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was down 4.9% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts expect that WEC Energy Group will post 3.52 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Sunday, September 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, August 14th were paid a $0.59 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, August 13th. This represents a $2.36 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.52%. WEC Energy Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 70.66%.
In related news, VP William J. Guc sold 7,005 shares of WEC Energy Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $88.09, for a total value of $617,070.45. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 13,366 shares in the company, valued at $1,177,410.94. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Chairman Gale E. Klappa sold 90,610 shares of WEC Energy Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $96.43, for a total value of $8,737,522.30. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now owns 236,725 shares in the company, valued at $22,827,391.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 246,040 shares of company stock worth $22,979,862. Company insiders own 0.75% of the company’s stock.
Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Weaver Consulting Group purchased a new stake in shares of WEC Energy Group in the first quarter valued at approximately $25,000. Trustcore Financial Services LLC purchased a new stake in shares of WEC Energy Group in the second quarter valued at approximately $25,000. Krane Funds Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of WEC Energy Group in the second quarter valued at approximately $25,000. Front Row Advisors LLC boosted its stake in shares of WEC Energy Group by 53.8% in the second quarter. Front Row Advisors LLC now owns 366 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $31,000 after buying an additional 128 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Synovus Financial Corp boosted its stake in shares of WEC Energy Group by 959.5% in the second quarter. Synovus Financial Corp now owns 392 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $32,000 after buying an additional 355 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 76.89% of the company’s stock.
About WEC Energy Group
WEC Energy Group, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides regulated natural gas and electricity, and nonregulated renewable energy services in the United States. The company operates through six segments: Wisconsin, Illinois, Other States, Electric Transmission, Non-Utility Energy Infrastructure, and Corporate and Other.
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