Zacks Investment Research Upgrades American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) to “Hold”

American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Thursday, Zacks.com reports. The firm presently has a $96.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target would indicate a potential upside of 6.37% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “American Electric’s share price has outperformed the industry in the past year. Its strategy includes incremental investment in renewable generation projects throughout the United States. The company’s geographically-diversified operations allow it to avail transmission opportunities with better returns, compared with its single-state utility peers. It also makes incremental investments in renewable generation projects. Yet, American Electric is exposed to environmental risks, since its power plants produce large quantities of nitrogen, sulphur, mercury and carbon dioxide. It invested $8.5 billion between 2000 and 2016, and intends to invest $2.2-$2.8 billion in the 2017-2025 time period. Investments required to meet proposed environmental regulations for its Welsh Plant through 2025 can cost the company an additional $550 million.”

AEP has been the subject of several other reports. Bank of America reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $43.00 target price (up from $36.00) on shares of The Medicines in a report on Tuesday. Wells Fargo & Co set a $95.00 target price on shares of Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, April 26th. Wolfe Research set a $205.00 price target on shares of Raytheon and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, April 26th. UBS Group lifted their price target on shares of Zayo Group from $30.00 to $35.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Thursday, May 9th. Finally, Morgan Stanley set a $18.00 price target on shares of PG&E and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, June 14th. Nine investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $83.93.

NYSE:AEP opened at $90.25 on Thursday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.19, a quick ratio of 0.37 and a current ratio of 0.49. The stock has a market cap of $44.52 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.85, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.86 and a beta of 0.16. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $89.12. American Electric Power has a 1-year low of $68.13 and a 1-year high of $91.99.

American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, April 25th. The utilities provider reported $1.19 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.10 by $0.09. The firm had revenue of $4.10 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.23 billion. American Electric Power had a net margin of 12.64% and a return on equity of 10.81%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 2.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.96 EPS. As a group, equities research analysts forecast that American Electric Power will post 4.15 EPS for the current year.

In other American Electric Power news, EVP Paul Chodak III sold 1,303 shares of American Electric Power stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $86.52, for a total transaction of $112,735.56. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 8,152 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $705,311.04. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Lisa M. Barton sold 1,752 shares of American Electric Power stock in a transaction on Wednesday, June 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $89.41, for a total transaction of $156,646.32. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 34,460 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,081,068.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 24,637 shares of company stock worth $2,112,145 in the last three months. 0.16% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Bessemer Group Inc. grew its position in shares of American Electric Power by 14.3% during the 4th quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 5,206 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $390,000 after acquiring an additional 651 shares during the period. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP grew its position in shares of American Electric Power by 6.5% during the 4th quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 954,396 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $71,331,000 after acquiring an additional 58,389 shares during the period. Natixis Advisors L.P. grew its position in shares of American Electric Power by 17.2% during the 4th quarter. Natixis Advisors L.P. now owns 43,823 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,275,000 after acquiring an additional 6,430 shares during the period. Prudential PLC grew its position in shares of American Electric Power by 2.0% during the 4th quarter. Prudential PLC now owns 11,948 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $893,000 after acquiring an additional 234 shares during the period. Finally, Stifel Financial Corp grew its position in shares of American Electric Power by 3.9% during the 4th quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 219,216 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $16,347,000 after acquiring an additional 8,166 shares during the period. 73.58% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About American Electric Power

American Electric Power Company, Inc, an electric public utility holding company, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity for sale to retail and wholesale customers in the United States. The company generates electricity using coal and lignite, natural gas, nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, wind, and other energy sources.

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