Westar Energy Inc (WR) Upgraded to “Hold” at 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 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. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $54.40 and a 200 day moving average of $55.51.

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, February 22nd. The utilities provider reported $0.38 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.42 by $0.04. Westar Energy had a net margin of 13.27% and a return on equity of 8.91%. The business earned $606.53 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $578.83 million. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.28 earnings per share. The firm’s 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 announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, April 3rd. Investors of record on Thursday, March 9th were given a $0.40 dividend. This is a boost from Westar Energy’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.38. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.11%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, March 7th. Westar Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 65.24%.

In related news, SVP Jerl L. Banning sold 1,850 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, March 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.61, for a total value of $101,028.50. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 0.61% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Washington Trust Bank boosted its position in shares of Westar Energy by 792.5% in the first quarter. Washington Trust Bank now owns 2,365 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $128,000 after buying an additional 2,100 shares during the period. Advisory Services Network LLC boosted its position in shares of Westar Energy by 6.2% in the third quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 2,761 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $157,000 after buying an additional 161 shares during the last quarter. Global X Management Co. LLC boosted its position in shares of Westar Energy by 53.3% in the third quarter. Global X Management Co. LLC now owns 3,142 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $178,000 after buying an additional 1,093 shares during the last quarter. Sowell Financial Services LLC bought a new position in shares of Westar Energy during the fourth quarter worth about $180,000. Finally, Shinko Asset Management Co. Ltd. boosted its position in shares of Westar Energy by 911.6% in the third quarter. Shinko Asset Management Co. Ltd. now owns 3,662 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $208,000 after buying an additional 3,300 shares during the last quarter. 70.02% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Westar Energy Company Profile

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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