South Jersey Industries Inc (NYSE:SJI) Sees Significant Decrease in Short Interest

South Jersey Industries Inc (NYSE:SJI) saw a significant decline in short interest in December. As of December 31st, there was short interest totalling 5,540,000 shares, a decline of 5.5% from the December 15th total of 5,860,000 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 555,900 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 10.0 days. Currently, 6.0% of the company’s stock are short sold.

A number of research analysts have commented on the company. Zacks Investment Research cut South Jersey Industries from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, January 9th. Maxim Group reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $40.00 price target on shares of South Jersey Industries in a research note on Friday, November 8th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut South Jersey Industries from an “equal weight” rating to an “underweight” rating and cut their price target for the stock from $31.00 to $29.00 in a research note on Wednesday, January 8th. Morgan Stanley cut South Jersey Industries from an “equal weight” rating to an “underweight” rating and cut their price target for the stock from $31.00 to $29.00 in a research note on Wednesday, January 8th. Finally, ValuEngine cut South Jersey Industries from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 24th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. South Jersey Industries has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $33.80.

NYSE SJI traded down $0.07 on Friday, hitting $31.75. 2,943 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 664,738. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $31.70 and a 200 day moving average of $32.12. South Jersey Industries has a twelve month low of $28.58 and a twelve month high of $34.48. The company has a market capitalization of $2.89 billion, a P/E ratio of 23.06, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.43 and a beta of 0.67. The company has a current ratio of 0.25, a quick ratio of 0.21 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.43.

South Jersey Industries (NYSE:SJI) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, November 6th. The utilities provider reported ($0.30) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.27) by ($0.03). South Jersey Industries had a net margin of 8.81% and a return on equity of 6.56%. The firm had revenue of $261.20 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $253.87 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned ($0.27) EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 13.6% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, equities research analysts expect that South Jersey Industries will post 1.1 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 27th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, December 10th were paid a dividend of $0.295 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, December 9th. This represents a $1.18 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.72%. This is a boost from South Jersey Industries’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.29. South Jersey Industries’s dividend payout ratio is presently 85.51%.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted its stake in South Jersey Industries by 27.3% during the second quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 60,466 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,017,000 after purchasing an additional 12,977 shares during the period. Bank of Montreal Can lifted its position in South Jersey Industries by 278.7% during the second quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 10,547 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $356,000 after purchasing an additional 7,762 shares during the last quarter. LPL Financial LLC lifted its holdings in shares of South Jersey Industries by 8.8% in the 2nd quarter. LPL Financial LLC now owns 7,476 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $252,000 after acquiring an additional 603 shares during the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp lifted its holdings in shares of South Jersey Industries by 2.8% in the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 1,207,482 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $40,728,000 after acquiring an additional 32,437 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC lifted its holdings in shares of South Jersey Industries by 2.4% in the 2nd quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 248,976 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $8,398,000 after acquiring an additional 5,834 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 81.65% of the company’s stock.

South Jersey Industries Company Profile

South Jersey Industries, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides energy-related products and services. The company engages in the purchase, transmission, and sale of natural gas. It also sells natural gas and pipeline transportation capacity on a wholesale basis to residential, commercial, and industrial customers on the interstate pipeline system, as well as transports natural gas, which is purchased directly from producers or suppliers to their customers.

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