Zacks Investment Research Lowers WEC Energy Group (WEC) to Hold

WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Sunday. They presently have a $71.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective would suggest a potential upside of 12.68% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Shares of WEC Energy have outperformed the industry in the last 12 months. Thanks to ongoing improvement in economic conditions in its service territories, WEC Energy at present is serving more customers than the year-ago level. Its long-term investments in infrastructure projects will help it meet increasing customer demand and improve service reliability. The company has raised its annual dividend by 6.25%. Closure of old coal plants and timely completion of its ongoing capital projects will help WEC Energy to achieve its targeted emission reduction. In first nine months of 2017, electricity delivered to residential customers and large commercial and industrial customers declined from the year-ago period due to less favorable weather.”

WEC has been the subject of several other research reports. Guggenheim reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $73.00 price target on shares of WEC Energy Group in a research note on Wednesday, January 3rd. Bank of America raised their price target on shares of WEC Energy Group from $69.00 to $71.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 15th. KeyCorp reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of WEC Energy Group in a research note on Friday, October 20th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group began coverage on shares of WEC Energy Group in a research report on Thursday, December 7th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $70.00 price objective for the company. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. WEC Energy Group presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $66.33.

WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC) opened at $63.01 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $19,880.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.73, a PEG ratio of 3.53 and a beta of 0.15. WEC Energy Group has a 52 week low of $56.05 and a 52 week high of $70.09. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.96, a quick ratio of 0.38 and a current ratio of 0.60.

WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The utilities provider reported $0.68 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.67 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $1.66 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.68 billion. WEC Energy Group had a net margin of 12.79% and a return on equity of 10.62%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.69 earnings per share. sell-side analysts forecast that WEC Energy Group will post 3.09 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other WEC Energy Group news, VP Scott J. Lauber sold 1,240 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.00, for a total value of $86,800.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Gale E. Klappa sold 52,722 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $69.40, for a total transaction of $3,658,906.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.97% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Wells Fargo & Company MN grew its holdings in WEC Energy Group by 36.6% in the third quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 7,366,777 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $462,486,000 after purchasing an additional 1,972,929 shares during the period. Epoch Investment Partners Inc. grew its holdings in WEC Energy Group by 8.6% in the second quarter. Epoch Investment Partners Inc. now owns 6,212,698 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $381,336,000 after purchasing an additional 492,379 shares during the period. Ameriprise Financial Inc. grew its holdings in WEC Energy Group by 28.9% in the third quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 2,849,244 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $178,873,000 after purchasing an additional 638,010 shares during the period. Legal & General Group Plc grew its holdings in WEC Energy Group by 4.3% in the third quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 2,588,348 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $162,500,000 after purchasing an additional 106,633 shares during the period. Finally, Caisse DE Depot ET Placement DU Quebec grew its holdings in WEC Energy Group by 7.1% in the third quarter. Caisse DE Depot ET Placement DU Quebec now owns 2,494,698 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $157,276,000 after purchasing an additional 165,710 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 72.58% of the company’s stock.

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WEC Energy Group Company Profile

WEC Energy Group, Inc was a diversified holding company with natural gas and electric utility operations, an approximately 60% equity ownership interest in American Transmission Company LLC, and non-utility electric operations through its We Power business, as of December 31, 2016. Its segments include Wisconsin; Illinois; Other States; Electric Transmission; We Power, and Corporate and Other.

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