Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Northwest Natural Gas Company (NWN) to Buy

Northwest Natural Gas Company (NYSE:NWN) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Saturday. The firm currently has a $75.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price suggests a potential upside of 12.44% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “NW Natural is principally engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) has allocated to NW Natural as its exclusive service area a major portion of western Oregon, including the Portland metropolitan area, most of the fertile Willamette Valley and the coastal area from Astoria to Coos Bay. NW Natural also holds certificates from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) granting it exclusive rights to serve portions of three Washington counties bordering the Columbia River. “

Separately, BidaskClub upgraded Northwest Natural Gas from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 27th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has assigned a hold rating, two have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. Northwest Natural Gas has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $66.33.

Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE:NWN) opened at $66.70 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 0.98, a quick ratio of 0.69 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89. The stock has a market capitalization of $1,915.16, a PE ratio of 30.32, a P/E/G ratio of 6.83 and a beta of 0.39. Northwest Natural Gas has a fifty-two week low of $55.60 and a fifty-two week high of $68.60.

Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE:NWN) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, November 3rd. The utilities provider reported ($0.30) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of ($0.31) by $0.01. The business had revenue of $88.20 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $91.19 million. Northwest Natural Gas had a return on equity of 7.31% and a net margin of 8.32%. Northwest Natural Gas’s quarterly revenue was up .6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.18 earnings per share. analysts anticipate that Northwest Natural Gas will post 2.17 EPS for the current year.

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In other news, VP Grant M. Yoshihara sold 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $66.03, for a total value of $132,060.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 15,301 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,010,325.03. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Martha L. Byorum sold 1,202 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $64.88, for a total value of $77,985.76. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 1,202 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $77,985.76. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 13,202 shares of company stock valued at $879,666. Corporate insiders own 1.48% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio lifted its position in shares of Northwest Natural Gas by 2.0% in the second quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 2,063 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $123,000 after buying an additional 40 shares during the last quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. lifted its position in shares of Northwest Natural Gas by 61.0% in the second quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 2,111 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $126,000 after buying an additional 800 shares during the last quarter. Riverhead Capital Management LLC lifted its position in shares of Northwest Natural Gas by 88.6% in the second quarter. Riverhead Capital Management LLC now owns 2,263 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $136,000 after buying an additional 1,063 shares during the last quarter. Creative Planning lifted its position in shares of Northwest Natural Gas by 0.3% in the second quarter. Creative Planning now owns 2,436 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $146,000 after buying an additional 8 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. lifted its position in shares of Northwest Natural Gas by 6.4% in the second quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. now owns 2,496 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $149,000 after buying an additional 150 shares during the last quarter. 64.11% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Northwest Natural Gas Company Profile

Northwest Natural Gas Company (NW Natural) is engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Company’s segments include Local Gas Distribution, Gas Storage and other. The Company maintains operations in Oregon, Washington and California and conducts businesses through NW Natural and its subsidiaries.

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