ALLETE (ALE) Downgraded to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of ALLETE (NYSE:ALE) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report published on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “ALLETE is an energy company. In addition to its electric utilities, Minnesota Power and Superior Water, Light and Power of Wisconsin, ALLETE owns ALLETE Clean Energy, based in Duluth, U.S. Water Services headquartered in St. Michael, Minn., BNI Energy in Center, N.D., and has an eight percent equity interest in the American Transmission Co. “

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Wells Fargo & Co boosted their price objective on shares of ALLETE from $76.00 to $77.00 and gave the company a market perform rating in a research report on Monday, September 17th. Guggenheim reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $71.00 price objective on shares of ALLETE in a research report on Monday, July 23rd. Finally, ValuEngine cut shares of ALLETE from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, August 24th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the stock. ALLETE currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $74.25.

Shares of NYSE ALE traded up $0.16 during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $76.85. 234,718 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 259,979. The stock has a market cap of $3.92 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.09, a P/E/G ratio of 3.76 and a beta of 0.17. ALLETE has a 12 month low of $66.64 and a 12 month high of $81.24. The company has a quick ratio of 0.71, a current ratio of 1.09 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.69.

ALLETE (NYSE:ALE) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 1st. The utilities provider reported $0.67 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.75 by ($0.08). The company had revenue of $348.00 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $366.00 million. ALLETE had a net margin of 11.12% and a return on equity of 7.46%. The company’s revenue was down 4.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.72 earnings per share. On average, research analysts anticipate that ALLETE will post 3.38 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Saturday, December 1st. Investors of record on Thursday, November 15th will be given a $0.56 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, November 14th. This represents a $2.24 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.91%. ALLETE’s dividend payout ratio is currently 70.22%.

In other ALLETE news, Director James J. Hoolihan sold 800 shares of ALLETE stock in a transaction on Monday, August 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $76.49, for a total value of $61,192.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 13,632 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,042,711.68. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Chairman Alan R. Hodnik sold 4,000 shares of ALLETE stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.70, for a total transaction of $302,800.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.42% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in ALLETE by 2.1% in the 3rd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 5,963,568 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $447,328,000 after buying an additional 121,426 shares during the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp increased its stake in ALLETE by 1.1% in the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 1,422,127 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $110,087,000 after buying an additional 15,514 shares during the last quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its stake in ALLETE by 0.4% in the 3rd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 1,289,036 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $96,690,000 after buying an additional 5,317 shares during the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its stake in ALLETE by 4.8% in the 2nd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 983,044 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $76,098,000 after buying an additional 45,237 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its stake in ALLETE by 0.6% in the 2nd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 799,563 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $61,894,000 after buying an additional 4,956 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.53% of the company’s stock.

ALLETE Company Profile

ALLETE, Inc operates as an energy company. The company operates through three segments: Regulated Operations, ALLETE Clean Energy, and U.S. Water Services. It generates electricity from coal-fired, natural gas-fired, biomass co-fired, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and other sources. The company provides regulated electric, natural gas, and water services in northwestern Wisconsin to approximately 15,000 electric customers, 13,000 natural gas customers, and 10,000 water customers, as well as regulated utility electric services in northeastern Minnesota to approximately 145,000 retail customers and 16 non-affiliated municipal customers.

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