Northwest Natural Gas (NWN) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE:NWN) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Friday.

According to Zacks, “NW Natural is principally engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) has allocated to NW Natural as its exclusive service area a major portion of western Oregon, including the Portland metropolitan area, most of the fertile Willamette Valley and the coastal area from Astoria to Coos Bay. NW Natural also holds certificates from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) granting it exclusive rights to serve portions of three Washington counties bordering the Columbia River. “

Several other equities research analysts have also recently commented on NWN. Wells Fargo & Co cut Northwest Natural Gas from a “market perform” rating to an “underperform” rating in a research note on Monday, December 18th. Royal Bank of Canada assumed coverage on Northwest Natural Gas in a research note on Tuesday, December 19th. They set a “sector perform” rating and a $63.00 target price for the company. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating, one has given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $71.00.

Shares of Northwest Natural Gas (NWN) opened at $58.95 on Friday. Northwest Natural Gas has a one year low of $56.53 and a one year high of $69.50. The company has a market capitalization of $1,690.00, a P/E ratio of 26.80, a P/E/G ratio of 6.01 and a beta of 0.39. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89, a quick ratio of 0.69 and a current ratio of 0.98.

Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE:NWN) last released its earnings results on Friday, November 3rd. The utilities provider reported ($0.30) EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of ($0.31) by $0.01. Northwest Natural Gas had a return on equity of 7.31% and a net margin of 8.32%. The business had revenue of $88.20 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $91.19 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.18 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up .6% on a year-over-year basis. analysts forecast that Northwest Natural Gas will post 2.18 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other Northwest Natural Gas news, Director Martha L. Byorum sold 1,202 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $64.88, for a total value of $77,985.76. Following the transaction, the director now owns 1,202 shares in the company, valued at $77,985.76. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 1.48% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its holdings in Northwest Natural Gas by 1.0% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 2,729,991 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $163,389,000 after acquiring an additional 26,107 shares in the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP boosted its holdings in Northwest Natural Gas by 1.7% in the third quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 876,327 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $56,436,000 after acquiring an additional 14,342 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp boosted its holdings in Northwest Natural Gas by 5.1% in the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 736,047 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $44,053,000 after acquiring an additional 35,852 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its holdings in Northwest Natural Gas by 3.5% in the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 476,933 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $30,976,000 after acquiring an additional 15,930 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Renaissance Technologies LLC boosted its holdings in Northwest Natural Gas by 5.5% in the second quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 427,100 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $25,562,000 after acquiring an additional 22,200 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 64.59% of the company’s stock.

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Northwest Natural Gas Company Profile

Northwest Natural Gas Company (NW Natural) is engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Company’s segments include Local Gas Distribution, Gas Storage and other. The Company maintains operations in Oregon, Washington and California and conducts businesses through NW Natural and its subsidiaries.

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