Ameren (AEE) Downgraded to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Ameren (NYSE:AEE) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a note issued to investors on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Ameren Corp's aging infrastructure may pose risks to system reliability and force it to incur unplanned capital expenditures and operating costs. Stringent environmental regulations and operational risks might be potential growth deterrents.  Also its stock is overvalued compared to its historical levels in terms of EV/EBITDA ratio. However, the company is investing heavily to upgrade its aging infrastructure.”

A number of other brokerages have also recently weighed in on AEE. Morgan Stanley cut shares of Ameren from an “equal weight” rating to an “underweight” rating and set a $61.00 price objective for the company. in a research note on Wednesday, December 13th. ValuEngine cut shares of Ameren from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, December 4th. KeyCorp restated a “hold” rating on shares of Ameren in a research note on Friday, October 20th. Finally, Bank of America initiated coverage on shares of Ameren in a research note on Tuesday, October 24th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $62.00 price objective for the company. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $56.80.

Shares of Ameren (NYSE:AEE) traded down $0.04 during trading on Friday, hitting $57.39. 1,320,000 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,309,573. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.92, a current ratio of 0.61 and a quick ratio of 0.40. Ameren has a twelve month low of $51.35 and a twelve month high of $64.89. The firm has a market capitalization of $13,924.82, a PE ratio of 22.24, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.72 and a beta of 0.37.

Ameren (NYSE:AEE) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Friday, November 3rd. The utilities provider reported $1.24 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.31 by ($0.07). Ameren had a return on equity of 8.61% and a net margin of 10.03%. The firm had revenue of $1.72 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.87 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $1.52 earnings per share. Ameren’s quarterly revenue was down 7.3% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts anticipate that Ameren will post 2.8 EPS for the current year.

In related news, SVP Gregory L. Nelson sold 12,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.68, for a total transaction of $752,160.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 36,785 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,305,683.80. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. 0.38% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Vident Investment Advisory LLC raised its stake in Ameren by 21.4% during the 3rd quarter. Vident Investment Advisory LLC now owns 52,517 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,038,000 after purchasing an additional 9,275 shares during the last quarter. Empire Life Investments Inc. acquired a new position in Ameren during the 3rd quarter valued at $8,968,000. Magnetar Financial LLC acquired a new position in Ameren during the 3rd quarter valued at $838,000. AXA raised its stake in Ameren by 46.8% during the 3rd quarter. AXA now owns 150,896 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $8,727,000 after purchasing an additional 48,083 shares during the last quarter. Finally, California Public Employees Retirement System raised its stake in Ameren by 5.0% during the 3rd quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 700,000 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $40,488,000 after purchasing an additional 33,400 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 70.44% of the company’s stock.

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About Ameren

Ameren Corporation is a utility holding company. The Company’s subsidiaries include Ameren Missouri, Ameren Illinois and Ameren Transmission Company (ATXI). It operates through four segments. The Ameren Missouri segment includes all of the operations of Ameren Missouri. The Ameren Illinois Electric Distribution segment consists of the electric distribution business of Ameren Illinois.

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