ALLETE (NYSE:ALE) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of ALLETE (NYSE:ALE) from a hold rating to a strong sell rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “ALLETE is an energy company. In addition to its electric utilities, Minnesota Power and Superior Water, Light and Power of Wisconsin, ALLETE owns ALLETE Clean Energy, based in Duluth, U.S. Water Services headquartered in St. Michael, Minn., BNI Energy in Center, N.D., and has an eight percent equity interest in the American Transmission Co. “

A number of other brokerages have also recently weighed in on ALE. Mizuho dropped their price target on ALLETE from $66.00 to $55.00 and set a neutral rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, August 26th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. dropped their price target on ALLETE from $70.00 to $64.00 and set an underweight rating on the stock in a research report on Monday, June 1st. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $59.25.

NYSE:ALE traded up $0.20 during trading hours on Tuesday, reaching $51.78. 1,638 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 266,188. The company has a quick ratio of 0.19, a current ratio of 0.31 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57. The firm has a 50 day simple moving average of $55.83 and a 200-day simple moving average of $58.25. ALLETE has a 52 week low of $48.22 and a 52 week high of $88.60. The stock has a market capitalization of $2.68 billion, a P/E ratio of 15.97 and a beta of 0.29.

ALLETE (NYSE:ALE) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 5th. The utilities provider reported $0.39 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.65 by ($0.26). The company had revenue of $243.20 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $290.75 million. ALLETE had a return on equity of 7.07% and a net margin of 14.58%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 16.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.66 earnings per share. As a group, analysts expect that ALLETE will post 3.36 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, September 1st. Shareholders of record on Friday, August 14th were paid a dividend of $0.6175 per share. This represents a $2.47 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.77%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 13th. ALLETE’s payout ratio is currently 74.17%.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of ALE. Two Sigma Advisers LP grew its position in ALLETE by 109.4% during the second quarter. Two Sigma Advisers LP now owns 66,600 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,637,000 after buying an additional 34,800 shares in the last quarter. Schonfeld Strategic Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in ALLETE during the second quarter worth about $300,000. Mitsubishi UFJ Trust & Banking Corp boosted its holdings in ALLETE by 30.8% during the second quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Trust & Banking Corp now owns 5,100 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $279,000 after purchasing an additional 1,200 shares in the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. boosted its holdings in ALLETE by 0.8% during the second quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 1,427,595 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $77,962,000 after purchasing an additional 11,958 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Quadrature Capital Ltd acquired a new stake in ALLETE during the second quarter valued at approximately $538,000. 72.25% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About ALLETE

ALLETE, Inc operates as an energy company. The company operates through three segments: Regulated Operations, ALLETE Clean Energy, and U.S. Water Services. It generates electricity from coal-fired, wind, hydroelectric, natural gas-fired, biomass co-fired, solar, and other sources. The company provides regulated utility electric, natural gas, and water services in northwestern Wisconsin to approximately 15,000 electric customers, 13,000 natural gas customers, and 10,000 water customers, as well as regulated utility electric services in northeastern Minnesota to approximately 145,000 retail customers and 16 non-affiliated municipal customers.

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