Westar Energy Inc (WR) Upgraded to “Hold” by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Westar Energy Inc (NYSE:WR) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Saturday.

According to Zacks, “Westar Energy, Inc. is Kansas’ largest electric utility. Westar has 7,200 MW of electric generation capacity fueled by coal, uranium, natural gas, wind and landfill gas. They are a leader in electric transmission in Kansas. Their innovative customer service programs include mobile-enabled customer care, digital meters and paving the way for electric vehicle adoption. “

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) traded up 1.10% during trading on Friday, reaching $51.43. 2,814,366 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $54.40 and a 200 day moving average of $55.51. The firm has a market capitalization of $7.31 billion, a PE ratio of 21.16 and a beta of 0.38. Westar Energy has a 1-year low of $49.70 and a 1-year high of $57.50.

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, February 22nd. The utilities provider reported $0.38 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.42 by $0.04. Westar Energy had a net margin of 13.27% and a return on equity of 8.91%. The firm had revenue of $606.53 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $578.83 million. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.28 earnings per share. Westar Energy’s quarterly revenue was up 11.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts forecast that Westar Energy will post $2.51 EPS for the current year.

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The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, April 3rd. Investors of record on Thursday, March 9th were issued a $0.40 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, March 7th. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.11%. This is an increase from Westar Energy’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.38. Westar Energy’s dividend payout ratio is currently 65.24%.

In related news, SVP Jerl L. Banning sold 1,850 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, March 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.61, for a total value of $101,028.50. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Corporate insiders own 0.61% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Alpine Associates Management Inc. purchased a new position in Westar Energy during the fourth quarter worth approximately $59,138,000. Luminus Management LLC purchased a new position in Westar Energy during the fourth quarter worth approximately $48,781,000. Renaissance Technologies LLC increased its position in Westar Energy by 174.4% in the fourth quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 1,156,900 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $65,191,000 after buying an additional 735,300 shares in the last quarter. Adage Capital Partners GP L.L.C. increased its position in shares of Westar Energy by 27.3% in the third quarter. Adage Capital Partners GP L.L.C. now owns 2,839,087 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $161,118,000 after buying an additional 609,087 shares during the period. Finally, CNH Partners LLC increased its position in shares of Westar Energy by 18.2% in the fourth quarter. CNH Partners LLC now owns 2,917,887 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $164,423,000 after buying an additional 449,454 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 70.02% of the company’s stock.

About Westar Energy

Westar Energy, Inc is an electric utility. The Company provides electric generation, transmission and distribution services. The Company provides these services in central and northeastern Kansas, including the cities of Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan, Salina and Hutchinson. Its subsidiary, Kansas Gas and Electric Company (KGE), provides these services in south-central and southeastern Kansas, including the city of Wichita.

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