Northwest Natural (NYSE:NWN – Get Rating) posted its earnings results on Thursday. The utilities provider reported $0.05 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of ($0.04) by $0.09, Briefing.com reports. The company had revenue of $194.96 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $157.21 million. Northwest Natural had a return on equity of 7.87% and a net margin of 8.27%. Northwest Natural’s quarterly revenue was up 30.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the firm earned ($0.02) earnings per share.
Northwest Natural Stock Down 1.6 %
Shares of NWN stock traded down $0.85 during trading hours on Friday, hitting $52.56. 196,340 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 161,485. The stock’s fifty day simple moving average is $53.11 and its two-hundred day simple moving average is $51.42. Northwest Natural has a 12-month low of $43.07 and a 12-month high of $57.63. The stock has a market cap of $1.80 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.11, a PEG ratio of 4.94 and a beta of 0.45. The company has a quick ratio of 0.54, a current ratio of 0.66 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.92.
Northwest Natural Dividend Announcement
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, August 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, July 29th will be issued a dividend of $0.482 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, July 28th. This represents a $1.93 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.67%. Northwest Natural’s payout ratio is 77.51%.
Hedge Funds Weigh In On Northwest Natural
Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Bank of Montreal Can increased its position in shares of Northwest Natural by 6.8% during the first quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 20,428 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,050,000 after acquiring an additional 1,299 shares in the last quarter. MetLife Investment Management LLC increased its position in shares of Northwest Natural by 55.5% during the first quarter. MetLife Investment Management LLC now owns 16,916 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $875,000 after acquiring an additional 6,035 shares in the last quarter. Soros Fund Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Northwest Natural during the first quarter valued at approximately $699,000. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. increased its position in shares of Northwest Natural by 3.8% during the first quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 11,560 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $598,000 after acquiring an additional 420 shares in the last quarter. Finally, US Bancorp DE increased its position in shares of Northwest Natural by 2.0% during the first quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 11,286 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $584,000 after acquiring an additional 219 shares in the last quarter. 64.11% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Analysts Set New Price Targets
Several research firms recently issued reports on NWN. Bank of America raised Northwest Natural from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $53.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, May 24th. Royal Bank of Canada raised their price objective on shares of Northwest Natural from $49.00 to $50.00 and gave the stock a “sector perform” rating in a report on Thursday, April 14th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. According to MarketBeat, the company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $53.60.
Northwest Natural Company Profile
Northwest Natural Holding Company, through its subsidiary, Northwest Natural Gas Company, provides regulated natural gas distribution services to residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation customers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. The company also operates 5.7 billion cubic feet of the Mist gas storage facility contracted to other utilities and third-party marketers; offers natural gas asset management services; and operates an appliance retail center.
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