NiSource, Inc (NI) Stock Rating Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of NiSource, Inc (NYSE:NI) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Friday, July 14th. The firm currently has $28.00 price objective on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of NiSource have returned better than the broader industry in the last six months. NiSource is benefiting from continued execution of its infrastructure investment strategy.  NiSource will annually invest nearly $1.6–$1.8 billion in planned utility infrastructures from 2018 to 2020 and has identified long-term infrastructure investments worth $30 billion. Despite investing in upgrade programs, NiSource Inc. faces the risk of disruption in operation from its ageing infrastructure. Further, delays in completion of projects increase capital costs and stretch the time limit of NiSource’s expected benefit from these projects. Inconsistent weather conditions might deter NiSource’s growth.”

A number of other research firms have also weighed in on NI. Barclays PLC reaffirmed an equal weight rating and set a $26.00 target price (up previously from $25.00) on shares of NiSource in a report on Thursday, June 1st. Zelman & Associates lowered NiSource from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, May 30th. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services assumed coverage on NiSource in a report on Friday, May 19th. They set a buy rating and a $27.00 target price for the company. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $23.00 target price on shares of NiSource in a report on Friday, March 31st. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $25.89.

NiSource (NI) opened at 26.35 on Friday. NiSource has a 1-year low of $21.17 and a 1-year high of $26.69. The firm has a market cap of $8.59 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 30.57 and a beta of 0.37. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $25.88 and a 200 day moving average of $24.49.

NiSource (NYSE:NI) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.10 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $0.10. The company had revenue of $990.70 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $934.95 million. NiSource had a return on equity of 9.17% and a net margin of 5.96%. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.09 EPS. Analysts expect that NiSource will post $1.19 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, November 20th. Investors of record on Tuesday, October 31st will be given a $0.175 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Monday, October 30th. This represents a $0.70 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.66%. NiSource’s payout ratio is 81.40%.

In other news, EVP Pablo Vegas sold 7,200 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $25.12, for a total transaction of $180,864.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 94,885 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,383,511.20. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, CFO Donald Eugene Brown sold 6,906 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $25.51, for a total value of $176,172.06. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 141,168 shares in the company, valued at $3,601,195.68. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of NI. FMR LLC boosted its stake in shares of NiSource by 10.6% in the fourth quarter. FMR LLC now owns 585,011 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $12,951,000 after buying an additional 56,196 shares during the last quarter. Quadrature Capital Ltd purchased a new stake in shares of NiSource during the fourth quarter valued at $1,950,000. Brookfield Asset Management Inc. boosted its stake in shares of NiSource by 7.0% in the fourth quarter. Brookfield Asset Management Inc. now owns 2,575,579 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $57,023,000 after buying an additional 167,400 shares during the last quarter. Kentucky Retirement Systems purchased a new stake in shares of NiSource during the fourth quarter valued at $518,000. Finally, Kentucky Retirement Systems Insurance Trust Fund purchased a new stake in shares of NiSource during the fourth quarter valued at $231,000. 82.87% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About NiSource

NiSource Inc is an energy holding company. The Company is engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Company operates through two business segments: Gas Distribution Operations and Electric Operations. The Company’s Gas Distribution Operations segment provides natural gas service and transportation for residential, commercial and industrial customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Indiana and Massachusetts.

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