Southwest Gas (SWX) Rating Increased to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Southwest Gas (NYSE:SWX) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Saturday morning, Zacks.com reports. They currently have $96.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc. is an energy holding company based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc. owns two primary operating companies, Southwest Gas Corporation and Centuri Construction Group, Inc. Southwest Gas Corporation is a regulated utility and provides natural gas service to more than 1.9 million residential, commercial, and industrial customers in most of Arizona and Nevada, and parts of northeastern and southeastern California. Centuri Construction Group, Inc., is a full-service underground piping contractor that primarily provides utility companies with trenching and installation, replacement, and maintenance services for energy distribution systems, and develops industrial construction solutions. Centuri Construction Group Inc. operates in major markets across the United States and Canada. “

Several other brokerages have also commented on SWX. ValuEngine raised shares of Southwest Gas from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Tuesday, February 19th. Wells Fargo & Co reissued a hold rating on shares of Southwest Gas in a report on Friday, May 10th. Williams Capital reissued a hold rating on shares of Southwest Gas in a report on Monday, March 18th. Finally, UBS Group lowered shares of Southwest Gas from a buy rating to a neutral rating and boosted their price target for the stock from $88.00 to $89.00 in a report on Friday, March 29th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the stock. Southwest Gas has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $84.33.

SWX opened at $84.52 on Friday. The company has a quick ratio of 0.85, a current ratio of 0.85 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.90. Southwest Gas has a 1 year low of $70.46 and a 1 year high of $85.97. The firm has a market capitalization of $4.50 billion, a P/E ratio of 22.97, a PEG ratio of 3.50 and a beta of 0.37.

Southwest Gas (NYSE:SWX) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, May 7th. The utilities provider reported $1.77 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.58 by $0.19. Southwest Gas had a net margin of 6.69% and a return on equity of 9.34%. The firm had revenue of $807.10 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $516.97 million. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $1.63 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 7.0% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, equities research analysts forecast that Southwest Gas will post 3.91 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, September 3rd. Investors of record on Thursday, August 15th will be issued a $0.545 dividend. This represents a $2.18 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.58%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, August 14th. Southwest Gas’s payout ratio is presently 59.24%.

In related news, SVP Eric Debonis purchased 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 15th. The stock was bought at an average price of $82.67 per share, with a total value of $165,340.00. Following the acquisition, the senior vice president now owns 11,150 shares in the company, valued at $921,770.50. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, insider Paul M. Daily purchased 325 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, March 19th. The stock was bought at an average cost of $83.00 per share, with a total value of $26,975.00. Following the acquisition, the insider now owns 325 shares in the company, valued at approximately $26,975. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 5,450 shares of company stock valued at $459,207. 0.83% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Nordea Investment Management AB grew its holdings in shares of Southwest Gas by 12.2% during the first quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 100,138 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $8,237,000 after buying an additional 10,873 shares in the last quarter. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co NY grew its holdings in shares of Southwest Gas by 3.6% during the first quarter. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co NY now owns 30,329 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,494,000 after buying an additional 1,065 shares in the last quarter. BlueCrest Capital Management Ltd purchased a new stake in shares of Southwest Gas during the first quarter worth $885,000. Macquarie Group Ltd. grew its holdings in shares of Southwest Gas by 1.8% during the first quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 1,973,819 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $162,366,000 after buying an additional 34,530 shares in the last quarter. Finally, MetLife Investment Advisors LLC grew its holdings in shares of Southwest Gas by 2.2% during the first quarter. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC now owns 55,140 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $4,536,000 after buying an additional 1,164 shares in the last quarter. 84.99% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Southwest Gas Company Profile

Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc, through its subsidiaries, purchases, distributes, and transports natural gas in Arizona, Nevada, and California. The company operates through two segments, Natural Gas Operations and Utility Infrastructure Services. As of December 31, 2018, it had 2,047,000 residential, commercial, industrial, and other natural gas customers.

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