Spire Inc. (SR) Raised to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Spire Inc. (NYSE:SR) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Wednesday morning. They currently have $84.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Spire Inc. is a public utility company which is engaged in the purchase, retail distribution, sale and marketing of natural gas. Its operating segment consists of Gas Utility and Gas Marketing. Gas Utility segment includes the regulated operations of Laclede Gas and Alabama Gas Corporation. Gas Marketing segment is engaged in the marketing of natural gas and related activities on a non-regulated basis. Spire Inc, formerly known as The Laclede Group Inc., is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. “

SR has been the subject of several other reports. Royal Bank Of Canada reiterated a hold rating and issued a $73.00 price objective on shares of Spire in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. Morgan Stanley lifted their price objective on Spire from $68.00 to $73.00 and gave the stock an underweight rating in a report on Thursday, August 10th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus reiterated a hold rating and issued a $71.00 price objective on shares of Spire in a report on Thursday, August 3rd. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. Spire presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $73.33.

Spire (SR) opened at 75.20 on Wednesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $3.63 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.73 and a beta of 0.32. The company has a 50 day moving average of $75.91 and a 200-day moving average of $71.82. Spire has a one year low of $59.54 and a one year high of $78.00.

Spire (NYSE:SR) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.44 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.39 by $0.05. Spire had a return on equity of 8.77% and a net margin of 9.12%. The company had revenue of $323.50 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $293.99 million. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.33 EPS. Spire’s revenue for the quarter was up 29.8% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts predict that Spire will post $3.57 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, October 3rd. Shareholders of record on Monday, September 11th were given a $0.525 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, September 8th. This represents a $2.10 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.79%. Spire’s payout ratio is 60.17%.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of SR. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. lifted its position in shares of Spire by 65.7% during the 1st quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 37,182 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,510,000 after buying an additional 14,738 shares in the last quarter. Mason Street Advisors LLC lifted its position in shares of Spire by 7.2% during the 1st quarter. Mason Street Advisors LLC now owns 10,695 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $722,000 after buying an additional 718 shares in the last quarter. Los Angeles Capital Management & Equity Research Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Spire during the 1st quarter valued at about $813,000. Stifel Financial Corp lifted its position in shares of Spire by 8.2% during the 1st quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 14,827 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $998,000 after buying an additional 1,124 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Arizona State Retirement System lifted its position in shares of Spire by 1.3% during the 1st quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 23,817 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,608,000 after buying an additional 300 shares in the last quarter. 79.06% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Spire Company Profile

Spire Inc, formerly The Laclede Group, Inc, is engaged to transform its business and pursue growth by growing its gas utility business through prudent investment in infrastructure upgrades and organic growth initiatives; acquire and integrate gas utilities; modernize its gas assets, and invest in innovation.

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Analyst Recommendations for Spire (NYSE:SR)

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