Westar Energy (WR) Downgraded to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Westar Energy, Inc. is Kansas’ largest electric utility. Westar has 7,200 MW of electric generation capacity fueled by coal, uranium, natural gas, wind and landfill gas. They are a leader in electric transmission in Kansas. Their innovative customer service programs include mobile-enabled customer care, digital meters and paving the way for electric vehicle adoption. “

Several other analysts have also weighed in on the company. Bank of America began coverage on Westar Energy in a report on Tuesday, October 24th. They issued a buy rating and a $57.00 price objective for the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $58.00 price objective on Westar Energy and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Thursday, October 12th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co raised Westar Energy from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and set a $55.00 price objective for the company in a report on Monday, October 2nd. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Westar Energy has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $55.60.

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) opened at $50.46 on Friday. The company has a quick ratio of 0.65, a current ratio of 1.07 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.97. Westar Energy has a one year low of $49.20 and a one year high of $57.32. The company has a market capitalization of $7,170.00, a PE ratio of 20.94, a P/E/G ratio of 6.02 and a beta of 0.42.

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 31st. The utilities provider reported $1.11 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.20 by ($0.09). Westar Energy had a return on equity of 8.94% and a net margin of 13.32%. The business had revenue of $794.33 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $773.96 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.09 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 3.9% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts forecast that Westar Energy will post 2.45 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 2nd. Investors of record on Friday, December 8th were issued a $0.40 dividend. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.17%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 7th.

In other news, CEO Mark A. Ruelle sold 37,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.35, for a total transaction of $2,010,950.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, VP Kevin L. Kongs sold 2,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $54.06, for a total value of $108,120.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 55,100 shares of company stock valued at $2,991,312. 0.70% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Townsend & Associates Inc bought a new position in shares of Westar Energy during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $213,000. Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. grew its holdings in shares of Westar Energy by 401.8% during the fourth quarter. Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. now owns 9,414 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $498,000 after purchasing an additional 7,538 shares during the last quarter. Assenagon Asset Management S.A. grew its holdings in shares of Westar Energy by 24.3% during the fourth quarter. Assenagon Asset Management S.A. now owns 164,799 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $8,701,000 after purchasing an additional 32,268 shares during the last quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC bought a new position in shares of Westar Energy during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $1,969,000. Finally, First Quadrant L P CA bought a new position in shares of Westar Energy during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $3,573,000. 73.76% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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Westar Energy Company Profile

Westar Energy, Inc is an electric utility. The Company provides electric generation, transmission and distribution services. The Company provides these services in central and northeastern Kansas, including the cities of Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan, Salina and Hutchinson. Its subsidiary, Kansas Gas and Electric Company (KGE), provides these services in south-central and southeastern Kansas, including the city of Wichita.

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