WEC Energy Group Inc (WEC) Cut to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of WEC Energy Group Inc (NYSE:WEC) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report issued on Monday, April 17th.

According to Zacks, “WEC Energy Group still utilizes a large volume of coal to produce electricity, so to meet regulatory compliance the company will require additional investments which could increase the cost of operations. Weather variation and any delay in the completion of ongoing capital projects could increase expenses and reduce profitability.  The rates of return from the company’s shares were lower compared with the return from the broader industry in the last three months.  WEC Energy Group at present is serving more customers than the year-ago level. Also, more than 99% of its earnings come from regulated operations, which provided excellent visibility on its future performance. WEC Energy Group’s investments in infrastructure projects will help it to meet increasing customer demand and improve service reliability.”

A number of other research firms have also weighed in on WEC. Deutsche Bank AG raised their price objective on WEC Energy Group from $60.00 to $62.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a research report on Tuesday, April 11th. Wolfe Research lowered WEC Energy Group from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a research report on Thursday, February 2nd. Finally, Mizuho lowered WEC Energy Group from a buy rating to a neutral rating and reduced their price objective for the company from $63.00 to $59.00 in a research report on Thursday, February 2nd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. WEC Energy Group has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $64.50.

Shares of WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC) traded up 0.16% during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $61.01. 3,581,173 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $60.75 and a 200-day moving average price of $58.82. The stock has a market cap of $19.25 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.40 and a beta of 0.06. WEC Energy Group has a 1-year low of $53.66 and a 1-year high of $66.10.

WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, May 2nd. The utilities provider reported $1.12 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.06 by $0.06. WEC Energy Group had a return on equity of 10.63% and a net margin of 12.58%. The firm had revenue of $2.30 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.42 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.09 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 5.0% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts anticipate that WEC Energy Group will post $3.10 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 1st. Stockholders of record on Friday, May 12th will be given a $0.52 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, May 10th. This represents a $2.08 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.41%. WEC Energy Group’s payout ratio is 70.51%.

In other news, Director Gale E. Klappa sold 41,060 shares of WEC Energy Group stock in a transaction dated Thursday, March 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $60.24, for a total value of $2,473,454.40. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, VP James A. Schubilske sold 4,260 shares of WEC Energy Group stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.56, for a total value of $262,245.60. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 8,513 shares in the company, valued at $524,060.28. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 160,515 shares of company stock worth $9,835,709 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 0.81% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of WEC. Acadian Asset Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of WEC Energy Group during the third quarter valued at about $219,000. Nationwide Fund Advisors raised its position in shares of WEC Energy Group by 0.5% in the third quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 189,939 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $11,374,000 after buying an additional 1,036 shares during the period. PGGM Investments raised its position in shares of WEC Energy Group by 4.7% in the third quarter. PGGM Investments now owns 284,797 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $17,054,000 after buying an additional 12,766 shares during the period. AGF Investments Inc. raised its position in shares of WEC Energy Group by 5,173.2% in the third quarter. AGF Investments Inc. now owns 5,115 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $306,000 after buying an additional 5,018 shares during the period. Finally, Navellier & Associates Inc raised its position in shares of WEC Energy Group by 39.3% in the third quarter. Navellier & Associates Inc now owns 31,281 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,873,000 after buying an additional 8,826 shares during the period. 69.55% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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