FirstEnergy (FE) Lowered to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report sent to investors on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of FirstEnergy's have lost its value compared with the industry’s gain in the last one year. FirstEnergy faces strong competition in the wholesale market, risk of unplanned outages and stringent regulatory norms are some of the headwinds.  However, FirstEnergy’s modernization drive and its ambitious Energizing the Future plan is processing well and is aimed at upgrading its transmission capabilities. Recently, the company completed inspection of its assets and went ahead with necessary maintenance work of its equipment before the upcoming winter. The company is working to transform itself into a regulated company by mid of 2018.”

A number of other research analysts have also recently weighed in on FE. ValuEngine raised shares of FirstEnergy from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Monday, October 2nd. Guggenheim reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $47.00 price objective on shares of FirstEnergy in a report on Wednesday, January 3rd. Citigroup lifted their price objective on shares of FirstEnergy from $31.00 to $34.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a report on Tuesday, October 17th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $34.00 price objective on shares of FirstEnergy and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Thursday, October 12th. Finally, Mizuho reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $30.50 price objective on shares of FirstEnergy in a report on Tuesday, October 24th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company. FirstEnergy has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $35.32.

Shares of FirstEnergy (NYSE FE) traded down $0.15 during trading on Monday, hitting $29.92. 4,598,694 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 4,558,609. The company has a current ratio of 0.69, a quick ratio of 0.56 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 3.29. FirstEnergy has a 12-month low of $27.93 and a 12-month high of $35.22. The stock has a market capitalization of $13,310.00, a PE ratio of -2.54 and a beta of 0.25.

FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The utilities provider reported $0.97 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.86 by $0.11. FirstEnergy had a negative net margin of 35.99% and a positive return on equity of 19.29%. The firm had revenue of $3.70 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.72 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.90 earnings per share. analysts predict that FirstEnergy will post 3.04 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 1st. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, February 7th will be paid a dividend of $0.36 per share. This represents a $1.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.81%. FirstEnergy’s dividend payout ratio is currently -12.23%.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Sandy Spring Bank boosted its position in FirstEnergy by 1.3% during the second quarter. Sandy Spring Bank now owns 5,141 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $150,000 after acquiring an additional 66 shares during the last quarter. Sentry Investment Management LLC boosted its position in FirstEnergy by 0.5% during the second quarter. Sentry Investment Management LLC now owns 35,060 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,022,000 after acquiring an additional 185 shares during the last quarter. Norinchukin Bank The boosted its position in FirstEnergy by 0.7% during the second quarter. Norinchukin Bank The now owns 36,293 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,058,000 after acquiring an additional 240 shares during the last quarter. National Asset Management Inc. boosted its position in FirstEnergy by 4.8% during the second quarter. National Asset Management Inc. now owns 8,245 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $242,000 after acquiring an additional 379 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Simmons Bank boosted its position in FirstEnergy by 2.8% during the second quarter. Simmons Bank now owns 16,475 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $480,000 after acquiring an additional 450 shares during the last quarter. 82.41% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About FirstEnergy

FirstEnergy Corp. is a holding company. The Company is engaged in holding, directly or indirectly, all of the outstanding equity of its principal subsidiaries. Its segments include Regulated Distribution, Regulated Transmission, Competitive Energy Services (CES) and Corporate/Other. As of December 31, 2016, the Regulated Distribution segment distributed electricity through the Company’s 10 utility operating companies, serving approximately six million customers, and purchased power for its provider of last resort (POLR), standard offer service (SOS), standard offer service (SSO) and default service requirements in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland.

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