Middlesex Water (NASDAQ:MSEX) Short Interest Up 38.8% in August

Middlesex Water (NASDAQ:MSEX) was the recipient of a large increase in short interest in the month of August. As of August 31st, there was short interest totalling 352,900 shares, an increase of 38.8% from the July 31st total of 254,300 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 66,800 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 5.3 days. Approximately 2.2% of the company’s shares are sold short.

In other news, VP Lorrie Beth Ginegaw sold 650 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.48, for a total value of $39,962.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 5,779 shares in the company, valued at approximately $355,292.92. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, VP Robert K. Fullagar sold 500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.39, for a total value of $30,695.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 1,900 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $116,641. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 3.49% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of MSEX. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD boosted its stake in Middlesex Water by 9.7% during the 2nd quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD now owns 1,145,664 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $67,881,000 after purchasing an additional 101,460 shares during the last quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC acquired a new position in Middlesex Water during the 2nd quarter valued at about $4,021,000. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. boosted its stake in Middlesex Water by 19.6% during the 2nd quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. now owns 294,042 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $108,106,000 after purchasing an additional 48,184 shares during the last quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in Middlesex Water by 452.1% during the 1st quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. now owns 58,283 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,263,000 after purchasing an additional 47,726 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in Middlesex Water by 4.7% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 1,030,481 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $61,057,000 after purchasing an additional 46,412 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 55.51% of the company’s stock.

Shares of MSEX traded up $0.28 during trading hours on Friday, hitting $61.89. The stock had a trading volume of 57,100 shares, compared to its average volume of 56,419. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.64, a current ratio of 0.31 and a quick ratio of 0.26. The firm has a 50 day simple moving average of $60.13 and a 200-day simple moving average of $58.87. The firm has a market capitalization of $977.02 million, a P/E ratio of 31.58 and a beta of 0.36. Middlesex Water has a 1-year low of $43.12 and a 1-year high of $63.67.

Middlesex Water (NASDAQ:MSEX) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, July 31st. The utilities provider reported $0.49 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.55 by ($0.06). The firm had revenue of $33.39 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $36.00 million. Middlesex Water had a net margin of 24.95% and a return on equity of 13.43%. Equities analysts predict that Middlesex Water will post 1.97 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, September 3rd. Stockholders of record on Thursday, August 15th were paid a $0.24 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 14th. This represents a $0.96 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.55%. Middlesex Water’s dividend payout ratio is presently 48.98%.

MSEX has been the subject of several research reports. BidaskClub downgraded Middlesex Water from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Saturday, September 7th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Middlesex Water from a “hold” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 7th.

About Middlesex Water

Middlesex Water Company, together with its subsidiaries, owns and operates regulated water utility and wastewater systems. It operates in two segments, Regulated and Non-Regulated. The Regulated segment engages in collecting, treating, and distributing water on a retail and wholesale basis to residential, commercial, industrial, and fire protection customers in parts of New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

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