Duke Energy Corporation (DUK) Raised to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Duke Energy’s hefty investment plans for the next five years is expected to improve its business by generating cleaner energy and bolstering its renewable asset base. Its focus on core domestic regulated and highly-contracted renewable business is also appreciable. Again, its stable financial position and streamlining of its portfolio will bode well, going forward. However, potential volatility in market prices of fuel, electricity and other renewable energy commodities could create operational risks for Duke Energy. Unfavorable supply costs for providing full energy and capacity requirement services could have an undesirable impact on the company’s earnings. Duke Energy also faces challenges from severe weather conditions and natural calamities like hurricanes, which may result in breakdown and damage its infrastructure. It also underperformed the broader industry over the past year.”

Several other brokerages also recently commented on DUK. Citigroup Inc. increased their price objective on Duke Energy Corporation from $74.00 to $77.00 and gave the stock a sell rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 17th. BidaskClub raised Duke Energy Corporation from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, August 22nd. Morgan Stanley reaffirmed an equal weight rating and set a $87.00 price target (down from $91.00) on shares of Duke Energy Corporation in a research report on Monday, July 10th. KeyCorp reaffirmed a hold rating on shares of Duke Energy Corporation in a research report on Friday, September 1st. Finally, SunTrust Banks, Inc. reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $87.00 price target on shares of Duke Energy Corporation in a research report on Wednesday, October 4th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $86.25.

Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 3rd. The utilities provider reported $1.01 EPS for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $1.01. The firm had revenue of $5.56 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.76 billion. Duke Energy Corporation had a return on equity of 7.72% and a net margin of 9.89%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 6.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $1.07 earnings per share.

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The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, December 18th. Investors of record on Friday, November 17th will be paid a dividend of $0.89 per share. This represents a $3.56 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.03%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, November 16th. Duke Energy Corporation’s dividend payout ratio is 105.64%.

In related news, EVP Douglas F. Esamann sold 5,000 shares of Duke Energy Corporation stock in a transaction on Monday, August 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $86.22, for a total transaction of $431,100.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 50,316 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,338,245.52. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. 0.07% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in Duke Energy Corporation by 3.2% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 50,043,241 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $4,183,115,000 after buying an additional 1,572,216 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in Duke Energy Corporation by 1.2% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 43,215,514 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,612,384,000 after buying an additional 506,596 shares during the period. State Street Corp boosted its stake in Duke Energy Corporation by 1.3% during the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 33,919,431 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,781,737,000 after buying an additional 451,100 shares during the period. Federated Investors Inc. PA boosted its stake in Duke Energy Corporation by 1.5% during the second quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA now owns 9,473,847 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $791,919,000 after buying an additional 141,551 shares during the period. Finally, Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA boosted its stake in Duke Energy Corporation by 33.1% during the first quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 9,422,063 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $772,704,000 after buying an additional 2,345,114 shares during the period. 56.21% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Duke Energy Corporation Company Profile

Duke Energy Corporation (Duke Energy) is an energy company. The Company operates through three segments: Electric Utilities and Infrastructure; Gas Utilities and Infrastructure, and Commercial Renewables. The Company operates in the United States through its direct and indirect subsidiaries. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure segment provides retail electric service through the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 7.5 million customers within the Southeast and Midwest regions of the United States.

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