Middlesex Water (NASDAQ:MSEX) Short Interest Up 38.8% in August

Middlesex Water (NASDAQ:MSEX) was the target of a significant growth in short interest in August. As of August 31st, there was short interest totalling 352,900 shares, a growth of 38.8% from the July 31st total of 254,300 shares. Approximately 2.2% of the shares of the stock are sold short. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 66,800 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 5.3 days.

A number of brokerages have weighed in on MSEX. BidaskClub downgraded Middlesex Water from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Saturday, September 7th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Middlesex Water from a “hold” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 7th.

In related news, VP Robert K. Fullagar sold 500 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.39, for a total transaction of $30,695.00. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 1,900 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $116,641. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, VP Lorrie Beth Ginegaw sold 650 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.48, for a total value of $39,962.00. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 5,779 shares in the company, valued at approximately $355,292.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 3.49% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of MSEX. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP boosted its holdings in shares of Middlesex Water by 0.9% in the 4th quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 623,157 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $33,245,000 after purchasing an additional 5,500 shares in the last quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA lifted its stake in shares of Middlesex Water by 4,284.2% in the 1st quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 3,332 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $187,000 after acquiring an additional 3,256 shares during the last quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank lifted its stake in shares of Middlesex Water by 95.7% in the 1st quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 1,376 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $77,000 after acquiring an additional 673 shares during the last quarter. Wedge Capital Management L L P NC lifted its stake in shares of Middlesex Water by 15.7% in the 1st quarter. Wedge Capital Management L L P NC now owns 9,522 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $533,000 after acquiring an additional 1,290 shares during the last quarter. Finally, California Public Employees Retirement System lifted its stake in shares of Middlesex Water by 3.4% in the 1st quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 95,067 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $5,323,000 after acquiring an additional 3,136 shares during the last quarter. 55.51% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of MSEX stock traded up $0.28 during trading hours on Friday, reaching $61.89. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 57,100 shares, compared to its average volume of 56,419. The firm’s 50 day simple moving average is $60.13 and its 200-day simple moving average is $58.87. The company has a market capitalization of $977.02 million, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.58 and a beta of 0.36. Middlesex Water has a fifty-two week low of $43.12 and a fifty-two week high of $63.67. The company has a quick ratio of 0.26, a current ratio of 0.31 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.64.

Middlesex Water (NASDAQ:MSEX) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, July 31st. The utilities provider reported $0.49 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.55 by ($0.06). The business had revenue of $33.39 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $36.00 million. Middlesex Water had a net margin of 24.95% and a return on equity of 13.43%. Sell-side analysts predict that Middlesex Water will post 1.97 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, September 3rd. Shareholders of record on Thursday, August 15th were issued a $0.24 dividend. This represents a $0.96 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.55%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, August 14th. Middlesex Water’s dividend payout ratio is presently 48.98%.

About Middlesex Water

Middlesex Water Company, together with its subsidiaries, owns and operates regulated water utility and wastewater systems. It operates in two segments, Regulated and Non-Regulated. The Regulated segment engages in collecting, treating, and distributing water on a retail and wholesale basis to residential, commercial, industrial, and fire protection customers in parts of New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

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