Northwest Natural Gas (NWN) Coverage Initiated at Royal Bank of Canada

Equities researchers at Royal Bank of Canada assumed coverage on shares of Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE:NWN) in a research report issued on Tuesday. The brokerage set a “sector perform” rating and a $63.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock. Royal Bank of Canada’s target price would suggest a potential upside of 5.35% from the stock’s current price.

A number of other analysts have also recently issued reports on the company. Zacks Investment Research cut Northwest Natural Gas from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 13th. Wells Fargo & Company cut Northwest Natural Gas from a “market perform” rating to an “underperform” rating in a research report on Monday. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has issued a hold rating, two have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $71.00.

Shares of Northwest Natural Gas (NWN) opened at $59.80 on Tuesday. Northwest Natural Gas has a 52-week low of $56.53 and a 52-week high of $69.50. The stock has a market capitalization of $1,738.57, a P/E ratio of 27.52, a PEG ratio of 6.19 and a beta of 0.39. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89, a current ratio of 0.98 and a quick ratio of 0.69.

Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE:NWN) last released its quarterly earnings data on Friday, November 3rd. The utilities provider reported ($0.30) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of ($0.31) by $0.01. Northwest Natural Gas had a return on equity of 7.31% and a net margin of 8.32%. The company had revenue of $88.20 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $91.19 million. During the same period last year, the firm posted $1.18 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up .6% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts anticipate that Northwest Natural Gas will post 2.18 EPS for the current year.

In related news, Director Martha L. Byorum sold 1,202 shares of Northwest Natural Gas stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $64.88, for a total transaction 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 approximately $77,985.76. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Company insiders own 1.48% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Independent Advisor Alliance lifted its holdings in Northwest Natural Gas by 14.1% during the 3rd quarter. Independent Advisor Alliance now owns 10,435 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $676,000 after purchasing an additional 1,293 shares during the last quarter. Coldstream Capital Management Inc. acquired a new stake in Northwest Natural Gas during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $208,000. California Public Employees Retirement System lifted its holdings in Northwest Natural Gas by 6.3% during the 3rd quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 52,920 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,408,000 after purchasing an additional 3,120 shares during the last quarter. AMP Capital Investors Ltd lifted its holdings in Northwest Natural Gas by 4.2% during the 3rd quarter. AMP Capital Investors Ltd now owns 22,206 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,430,000 after purchasing an additional 900 shares during the last quarter. Finally, OxFORD Asset Management LLP lifted its holdings in Northwest Natural Gas by 69.1% during the 3rd quarter. OxFORD Asset Management LLP now owns 13,693 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $889,000 after purchasing an additional 5,597 shares during the last quarter. 64.59% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Northwest Natural Gas

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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