Avista (NYSE:AVA) Downgraded by Bank of America

Bank of America downgraded shares of Avista (NYSE:AVA) from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a report released on Tuesday morning, The Fly reports. They currently have $35.00 price objective on the utilities provider’s stock, down from their prior price objective of $39.00.

Several other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on AVA. BofA Securities cut Avista from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $35.00 target price on the stock. in a report on Tuesday. Zacks Investment Research cut Avista from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Monday, August 24th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and five have issued a hold rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $39.00.

Shares of Avista stock opened at $33.41 on Tuesday. The stock’s 50-day simple moving average is $36.27 and its 200-day simple moving average is $38.91. Avista has a 52 week low of $32.09 and a 52 week high of $53.00. The company has a market capitalization of $2.27 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.36, a PEG ratio of 3.56 and a beta of 0.37. The company has a quick ratio of 0.43, a current ratio of 0.54 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.96.

Avista (NYSE:AVA) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 5th. The utilities provider reported $0.26 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.32 by ($0.06). Avista had a net margin of 9.24% and a return on equity of 6.27%. The business had revenue of $268.30 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $317.74 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.38 earnings per share. Avista’s revenue was down 7.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts expect that Avista will post 1.88 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, September 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, August 20th were paid a dividend of $0.405 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, August 19th. This represents a $1.62 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.85%. Avista’s payout ratio is currently 93.10%.

In other news, VP David J. Meyer sold 750 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $36.49, for a total transaction of $27,367.50. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 4,382 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $159,899.18. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Director R John Taylor sold 2,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $37.24, for a total value of $74,480.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 951 shares in the company, valued at approximately $35,415.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 3,500 shares of company stock worth $128,923 over the last three months. 0.98% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. State Street Corp grew its stake in shares of Avista by 11.0% during the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 2,561,579 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $108,841,000 after buying an additional 254,786 shares during the last quarter. State of Tennessee Treasury Department boosted its holdings in shares of Avista by 62.7% in the first quarter. State of Tennessee Treasury Department now owns 43,344 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,841,000 after purchasing an additional 16,706 shares during the period. Royal Bank of Canada boosted its holdings in shares of Avista by 53.0% in the first quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 44,231 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,880,000 after purchasing an additional 15,323 shares during the period. Asset Management One Co. Ltd. boosted its holdings in shares of Avista by 24.5% in the first quarter. Asset Management One Co. Ltd. now owns 18,585 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $789,000 after purchasing an additional 3,653 shares during the period. Finally, Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank boosted its holdings in shares of Avista by 14.2% in the second quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 6,946 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $253,000 after purchasing an additional 864 shares during the period. 75.95% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Avista

Avista Corporation operates as an electric and natural gas utility company. It operates through two segments, Avista Utilities and AEL&P. The Avista Utilities segment provides electric distribution and transmission, and natural gas distribution services in parts of eastern Washington and northern Idaho; and natural gas distribution services in parts of northeastern and southwestern Oregon, as well as generates electricity in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Montana.

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The Fly

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