Sempra Energy (SRE) Upgraded to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Thursday morning. They currently have $124.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Steady focus on the expansion of its renewable capacity will enable Sempra Energy to provide emission-free power to customers. Over the next five years, the company expects to make capital expenditure and investments of approximately $24.8 billion. Such strong capital investment strategies have led the company to outperform its broader industry in last three months. Its recent Oncor buyout has added Texas’ largest electric transmission and distribution provider to Sempra Energy’s portfolio. As for renewables, Sempra Energy is focused on adding solar, wind and hydro assets to its portfolio. Steady focus on the expansion of its renewable capacity will enable the company to provide emission-free power to its customers. However, the company continues to face headwinds in the form of stringent government regulations and operational risks.”

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Several other research analysts have also recently weighed in on SRE. JPMorgan Chase reaffirmed a neutral rating and set a $104.00 price objective (down from $112.00) on shares of Sempra Energy in a research report on Tuesday, March 6th. Guggenheim reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $122.00 price objective on shares of Sempra Energy in a research report on Friday, February 23rd. Wells Fargo reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $120.00 price objective (down from $121.00) on shares of Sempra Energy in a research report on Wednesday, February 28th. TheStreet cut Sempra Energy from a b- rating to a c rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 27th. Finally, Bank of America cut Sempra Energy from a buy rating to a hold rating and set a $112.00 price target for the company. in a research report on Thursday, December 28th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $120.18.

SRE stock traded up $0.59 during trading on Thursday, hitting $110.86. The company had a trading volume of 770,191 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,409,926. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.09, a current ratio of 0.50 and a quick ratio of 0.46. The firm has a market cap of $28,338.43, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.44, a P/E/G ratio of 2.20 and a beta of 0.49. Sempra Energy has a fifty-two week low of $100.63 and a fifty-two week high of $122.97.

Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, February 27th. The utilities provider reported $1.54 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.40 by $0.14. Sempra Energy had a return on equity of 8.86% and a net margin of 2.28%. The company had revenue of $2.96 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.82 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $1.52 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 3.3% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts anticipate that Sempra Energy will post 5.6 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Sunday, April 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 23rd will be paid a dividend of $0.895 per share. This represents a $3.58 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.23%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 22nd. This is a positive change from Sempra Energy’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.82. Sempra Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 66.05%.

In other news, Chairman Debra L. Reed sold 49,909 shares of Sempra Energy stock in a transaction on Thursday, April 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $110.37, for a total value of $5,508,456.33. Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 177,227 shares in the company, valued at approximately $19,560,543.99. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, VP G Joyce Rowland sold 3,948 shares of Sempra Energy stock in a transaction on Thursday, April 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $109.81, for a total value of $433,529.88. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 2,655 shares in the company, valued at approximately $291,545.55. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have acquired 235,000 shares of company stock worth $23,000. Corporate insiders own 0.17% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in Sempra Energy by 2.4% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 20,631,499 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,205,919,000 after purchasing an additional 475,879 shares in the last quarter. State of Tennessee Treasury Department lifted its position in shares of Sempra Energy by 7.0% during the fourth quarter. State of Tennessee Treasury Department now owns 99,952 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $10,687,000 after acquiring an additional 6,531 shares in the last quarter. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Sempra Energy during the third quarter worth $928,000. Smith Graham & Co. Investment Advisors LP lifted its position in shares of Sempra Energy by 21.3% during the fourth quarter. Smith Graham & Co. Investment Advisors LP now owns 28,550 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,053,000 after acquiring an additional 5,010 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC lifted its position in shares of Sempra Energy by 3.3% during the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 2,656,308 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $283,424,000 after acquiring an additional 85,865 shares in the last quarter. 82.43% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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Sempra Energy Company Profile

Sempra Energy, together with its subsidiaries, invests in, develops, and operates energy infrastructure, as well as provides electric and gas services in the United States and internationally. The company's San Diego Gas & Electric Company segment engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity.

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