WEC Energy Group (WEC) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of WEC Energy have outperformed the industry in the last 12 months. Thanks to ongoing improvement in economic conditions in its service territories, WEC Energy at present is serving more customers than the year-ago level. Its long-term investments in infrastructure projects will help it meet increasing customer demand and improve service reliability. The company has raised its annual dividend by 6.25%. However, it still produces a substantial volume of electricity from coal. Closure of old coal plants and completion of its ongoing capital projects will help WEC Energy to achieve its targeted emission reduction. In first nine months of 2017, electricity delivered to residential customers and large commercial and industrial customers declined from the year-ago period due to less favorable weather.”

A number of other equities analysts have also recently issued reports on the company. Credit Suisse Group started coverage on WEC Energy Group in a report on Thursday, December 7th. They issued a neutral rating and a $70.00 target price for the company. Bank of America increased their target price on WEC Energy Group from $69.00 to $71.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a report on Wednesday, November 15th. KeyCorp reissued a hold rating on shares of WEC Energy Group in a report on Friday, October 20th. Finally, Guggenheim reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $73.00 price target on shares of WEC Energy Group in a report on Wednesday, January 3rd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $66.67.

Shares of WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC) traded down $0.09 on Monday, hitting $63.58. The stock had a trading volume of 1,429,300 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,719,563. WEC Energy Group has a fifty-two week low of $56.05 and a fifty-two week high of $70.09. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.96, a quick ratio of 0.38 and a current ratio of 0.60. The firm has a market cap of $20,110.00, a PE ratio of 20.91, a PEG ratio of 3.63 and a beta of 0.15.

WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The utilities provider reported $0.68 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.67 by $0.01. WEC Energy Group had a return on equity of 10.62% and a net margin of 12.79%. The business had revenue of $1.66 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.68 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.69 EPS. WEC Energy Group’s quarterly revenue was down 3.2% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts anticipate that WEC Energy Group will post 3.09 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, February 14th will be issued a dividend of $0.5525 per share. This represents a $2.21 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.48%. This is a boost from WEC Energy Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.52. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, February 13th. WEC Energy Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 68.42%.

In other WEC Energy Group news, VP Scott J. Lauber sold 1,240 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.00, for a total value of $86,800.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Gale E. Klappa sold 52,722 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $69.40, for a total value of $3,658,906.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.97% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Wealthfront Inc. bought a new position in WEC Energy Group in the 2nd quarter valued at $685,000. Curbstone Financial Management Corp boosted its position in WEC Energy Group by 100.0% in the 3rd quarter. Curbstone Financial Management Corp now owns 9,506 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $597,000 after buying an additional 4,753 shares during the last quarter. KBC Group NV boosted its position in WEC Energy Group by 11.0% in the 3rd quarter. KBC Group NV now owns 37,264 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,339,000 after buying an additional 3,687 shares during the last quarter. AMP Capital Investors Ltd boosted its position in WEC Energy Group by 3.2% in the 3rd quarter. AMP Capital Investors Ltd now owns 160,388 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $10,069,000 after buying an additional 4,970 shares during the last quarter. Finally, State of Wisconsin Investment Board boosted its position in WEC Energy Group by 8.1% in the 3rd quarter. State of Wisconsin Investment Board now owns 230,663 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $14,481,000 after buying an additional 17,196 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.59% of the company’s stock.

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About WEC Energy Group

WEC Energy Group, Inc was a diversified holding company with natural gas and electric utility operations, an approximately 60% equity ownership interest in American Transmission Company LLC, and non-utility electric operations through its We Power business, as of December 31, 2016. Its segments include Wisconsin; Illinois; Other States; Electric Transmission; We Power, and Corporate and Other.

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