Aqua America (NYSE:WTR) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Monday. The firm currently has a $41.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price indicates a potential upside of 15.88% from the company’s previous close.
According to Zacks, “Aqua America’s shares have gained higher than the industry in the last 12 months. Aqua America has expanded its customer base through acquisitions during the first nine months of 2017. It aims to increase its customer level by 1.5-2% in 2017 through strategic acquisitions and organic initiatives. Rate hikes are boosting its earnings and the company is continuing with its infrastructural strengthening initiatives. The company aims to make capital investments of over $450 million in 2017, which is part of an ambitious investment target of more than $1.2 billion in the 2017-2019 period. Aqua America, like other water utilities runs the risk of contamination of water sources, which could raise its operating costs while fluctuating weather conditions might dampen demand for water.”
A number of other equities research analysts have also recently weighed in on the company. Hilliard Lyons upgraded Aqua America from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Thursday, December 21st. Argus boosted their price objective on Aqua America from $37.00 to $41.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 13th. Robert W. Baird reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $32.00 price objective on shares of Aqua America in a research note on Wednesday, November 1st. Boenning Scattergood reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $43.00 price objective on shares of Aqua America in a research note on Wednesday, November 1st. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co upgraded Aqua America from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $40.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Thursday, October 19th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Aqua America currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $39.17.
Aqua America (NYSE:WTR) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 31st. The utilities provider reported $0.43 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.43. Aqua America had a return on equity of 12.49% and a net margin of 29.38%. The company had revenue of $215.01 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $234.40 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.41 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 5.1% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts expect that Aqua America will post 1.36 EPS for the current year.
In other news, VP David Smeltzer sold 10,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $36.36, for a total transaction of $363,600.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 71,397 shares in the company, valued at $2,595,994.92. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Insiders have bought 70,500 shares of company stock valued at $8,475 in the last 90 days. Company insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.
Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Bank of Montreal Can raised its stake in shares of Aqua America by 1.9% during the fourth quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 84,210 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,304,000 after purchasing an additional 1,605 shares during the last quarter. First Citizens Bank & Trust Co. purchased a new stake in shares of Aqua America during the fourth quarter worth approximately $460,000. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Aqua America during the third quarter worth approximately $302,000. Wealthcare Advisory Partners LLC purchased a new position in Aqua America in the third quarter worth $680,000. Finally, California Public Employees Retirement System raised its position in Aqua America by 5.1% in the third quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 512,580 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $17,013,000 after acquiring an additional 25,030 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 51.66% of the company’s stock.
Aqua America Company Profile
Aqua America, Inc is a holding company. The Company is engaged in providing water or wastewater services concentrated in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, North Carolina, New Jersey, Indiana and Virginia. The Company is the holding company for its primary subsidiary, Aqua Pennsylvania, Inc Its market-based activities are conducted through Aqua Resources, Inc (Aqua Resources) and Aqua Infrastructure, LLC (Aqua Infrastructure).
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