Zacks: Unitil Co. (NYSE:UTL) Given $58.50 Consensus Target Price by Brokerages

Shares of Unitil Co. (NYSE:UTL) have received an average broker rating score of 2.50 (Hold) from the two analysts that provide coverage for the company, Zacks Investment Research reports. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company.

Brokers have set a 1 year consensus price target of $58.50 for the company and are forecasting that the company will post ($0.03) earnings per share for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Zacks has also given Unitil an industry rank of 156 out of 256 based on the ratings given to its competitors.

Separately, Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Unitil from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, April 4th.

NYSE UTL traded down $0.14 on Tuesday, hitting $57.52. 46,570 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 42,759. The company has a current ratio of 0.81, a quick ratio of 0.76 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.00. Unitil has a 52 week low of $46.21 and a 52 week high of $59.79. The firm has a market capitalization of $860.29 million, a P/E ratio of 25.79, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 6.40 and a beta of 0.10.

Unitil (NYSE:UTL) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 25th. The utilities provider reported $1.12 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.35 by ($0.23). Unitil had a return on equity of 9.63% and a net margin of 9.75%. The firm had revenue of $152.10 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $147.60 million. On average, research analysts anticipate that Unitil will post 2.3 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, May 29th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, May 15th were given a dividend of $0.37 per share. This represents a $1.48 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.57%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, May 14th. Unitil’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 66.37%.

In other Unitil news, VP Todd R. Black sold 500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, May 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.05, for a total transaction of $28,525.00. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 26,440 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,508,402. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 2.39% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Teachers Advisors LLC boosted its stake in shares of Unitil by 4.0% in the 3rd quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 32,308 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,644,000 after purchasing an additional 1,233 shares in the last quarter. Morgan Stanley raised its holdings in shares of Unitil by 12.6% during the third quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 90,111 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $4,586,000 after acquiring an additional 10,114 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Unitil by 5.8% during the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 763,438 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $38,859,000 after acquiring an additional 41,978 shares in the last quarter. Bank of Montreal Can raised its holdings in shares of Unitil by 66.9% during the fourth quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 7,425 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $375,000 after acquiring an additional 2,976 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Quantamental Technologies LLC bought a new position in shares of Unitil during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $25,000. 67.11% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Unitil Company Profile

Unitil Corporation, a public utility holding company, engages in the distribution of electricity and natural gas in the United States. It operates through three segments: Utility Gas Operations, Utility Electric Operations, and Non-Regulated. The company distributes electricity in the southeastern seacoast and state capital regions of New Hampshire, and the greater Fitchburg area of north central Massachusetts; and distributes natural gas in southeastern New Hampshire, portions of southern Maine to the Lewiston-Auburn area, and in the greater Fitchburg area of north central Massachusetts.

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