Westar Energy Inc (WR) Lifted to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Westar Energy Inc (NYSE:WR) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Saturday.

According to Zacks, “Westar Energy, Inc. is Kansas’ largest electric utility. Westar has 7,200 MW of electric generation capacity fueled by coal, uranium, natural gas, wind and landfill gas. They are a leader in electric transmission in Kansas. Their innovative customer service programs include mobile-enabled customer care, digital meters and paving the way for electric vehicle adoption. “

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) traded up 1.10% during midday trading on Friday, reaching $51.43. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 2,956,285 shares. Westar Energy has a 52-week low of $49.70 and a 52-week high of $57.50. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $54.40 and a 200 day moving average price of $55.51. The stock has a market capitalization of $7.31 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.16 and a beta of 0.38.

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, February 22nd. The utilities provider reported $0.38 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.42 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $606.53 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $578.83 million. Westar Energy had a return on equity of 8.91% and a net margin of 13.27%. The firm’s revenue was up 11.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.28 earnings per share. Equities research analysts predict that Westar Energy will post $2.51 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, April 3rd. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 9th were paid a $0.40 dividend. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.11%. This is a positive change from Westar Energy’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.38. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, March 7th. Westar Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 65.24%.

In other Westar Energy news, SVP Jerl L. Banning sold 1,850 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, March 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $54.61, for a total value of $101,028.50. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. 0.61% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in WR. Alpine Associates Management Inc. purchased a new position in Westar Energy during the fourth quarter worth $59,138,000. Luminus Management LLC purchased a new position in Westar Energy during the fourth quarter worth $48,781,000. Renaissance Technologies LLC raised its position in Westar Energy by 174.4% in the fourth quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 1,156,900 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $65,191,000 after buying an additional 735,300 shares during the last quarter. Adage Capital Partners GP L.L.C. raised its position in Westar Energy by 27.3% in the third quarter. Adage Capital Partners GP L.L.C. now owns 2,839,087 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $161,118,000 after buying an additional 609,087 shares during the last quarter. Finally, CNH Partners LLC raised its position in Westar Energy by 18.2% in the fourth quarter. CNH Partners LLC now owns 2,917,887 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $164,423,000 after buying an additional 449,454 shares during the last quarter. 70.02% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Westar Energy

Westar Energy, Inc is an electric utility. The Company provides electric generation, transmission and distribution services. The Company provides these services in central and northeastern Kansas, including the cities of Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan, Salina and Hutchinson. Its subsidiary, Kansas Gas and Electric Company (KGE), provides these services in south-central and southeastern Kansas, including the city of Wichita.

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