Zacks Investment Research Upgrades American Water Works (AWK) to “Hold”

American Water Works (NYSE:AWK) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Year to date American Water Works have gained higher than the industry.  American Water Works continues to add customers and expand its market reach through acquisitions and organic growth. Year to date, the water utility has added 22,000 customers through closed acquisitions and organic growth. Thanks to its ongoing capital expenditure we expect the company to improve its water and wastewater systems, providing efficient services to its expanding customer base. Unimpressive performance in the market-based businesses has proved detrimental to the company’s earnings. It is subject to stringent regulations, fluctuating weather patterns and risk of accidents due to old and soiled pipelines. High debt level is a headwind.”

Several other analysts have also recently weighed in on the company. Robert W. Baird reissued a “hold” rating and set a $82.00 price target on shares of American Water Works in a report on Sunday, October 1st. Boenning Scattergood reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of American Water Works in a report on Friday, September 22nd. BidaskClub cut American Water Works from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, August 3rd. Finally, Vetr cut American Water Works from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $84.04 price objective for the company. in a report on Wednesday, June 14th. Eight analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $82.86.

Shares of American Water Works (NYSE:AWK) traded up 0.96% on Tuesday, hitting $84.01. The company had a trading volume of 181,071 shares. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $81.86 and a 200 day moving average price of $79.77. The company has a market capitalization of $14.98 billion, a P/E ratio of 31.71 and a beta of 0.25. American Water Works has a 12-month low of $69.41 and a 12-month high of $84.06.

American Water Works (NYSE:AWK) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.73 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by ($0.07). The firm had revenue of $844.00 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $869.52 million. American Water Works had a return on equity of 9.70% and a net margin of 14.20%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.77 earnings per share. Equities analysts expect that American Water Works will post $3.00 EPS for the current year.

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In other news, COO Walter Lynch sold 3,335 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $82.05, for a total transaction of $273,636.75. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief operating officer now owns 94,702 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,770,299.10. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. 0.34% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its position in American Water Works by 2.6% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 18,185,767 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,417,580,000 after acquiring an additional 465,748 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in American Water Works by 1,423.2% during the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 14,519,771 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,129,202,000 after acquiring an additional 13,566,529 shares during the last quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. grew its position in American Water Works by 3.2% during the 2nd quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. now owns 4,004,935 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $313,105,000 after acquiring an additional 125,587 shares during the last quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. grew its position in American Water Works by 0.5% during the 2nd quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 2,680,122 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $208,915,000 after acquiring an additional 12,280 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company MN grew its position in American Water Works by 11.0% during the 2nd quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 2,532,449 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $197,405,000 after acquiring an additional 251,271 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 79.77% of the company’s stock.

About American Water Works

American Water Works Company, Inc is a holding company for regulated and market-based subsidiaries throughout the United States and Ontario, Canada. The Company’s Regulated Businesses segment provides water and wastewater services as public utilities in 16 states in the United States as of December 31, 2016.

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