Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Williams Companies (NYSE:WMB) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Thursday.
According to Zacks, “Well positioned to take advantage of the nation's natural gas supply growth, Williams Companies' midstream properties and large-scale value-creating projects position it for strong returns. In particular, increased energy growth prospects in North America is set to unlock attractive opportunities, which is expected to position the company for long-term, sustainable revenues as well as solidify its credit profile. An attractive dividend growth and strong, sustainable coverage are other positives in the Williams story. However, we are concerned of the constant regulatory setbacks which Constitutional Pipeline Project has been suffering from. We also need to factor the company’s high debt load and low return on equity. As such, we take a cautious stance on the prospects of the stock.”
WMB has been the topic of a number of other reports. ValuEngine lowered shares of Williams Companies from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Thursday, March 1st. Bank of America started coverage on shares of Williams Companies in a research report on Tuesday, January 9th. They set a buy rating on the stock. Barclays lowered shares of Williams Companies from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating and decreased their target price for the company from $36.00 to $35.00 in a report on Wednesday, January 17th. Credit Suisse Group started coverage on shares of Williams Companies in a report on Thursday, January 4th. They issued an outperform rating and a $36.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Morgan Stanley decreased their target price on shares of Williams Companies from $34.00 to $33.00 and set an overweight rating on the stock in a report on Friday, November 17th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company. Williams Companies has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $35.27.
Williams Companies (NYSE:WMB) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, February 14th. The pipeline company reported $0.20 EPS for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.20. Williams Companies had a net margin of 27.07% and a return on equity of 3.38%. The business had revenue of $2.23 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.16 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned ($0.02) earnings per share. analysts anticipate that Williams Companies will post 0.79 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, March 26th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 9th will be issued a $0.34 dividend. This is a positive change from Williams Companies’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.30. This represents a $1.36 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.86%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 8th. Williams Companies’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 468.97%.
In other news, VP Ted T. Timmermans sold 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, February 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $28.28, for a total value of $56,560.00. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 17,945 shares in the company, valued at approximately $507,484.60. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider James E. Scheel sold 26,915 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, January 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $33.00, for a total transaction of $888,195.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 32,915 shares of company stock worth $1,057,995. Insiders own 0.53% of the company’s stock.
Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of WMB. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board boosted its stake in shares of Williams Companies by 460.1% in the 3rd quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 396,610 shares of the pipeline company’s stock valued at $11,902,000 after purchasing an additional 325,800 shares in the last quarter. Andra AP fonden boosted its stake in shares of Williams Companies by 14.2% in the 3rd quarter. Andra AP fonden now owns 89,500 shares of the pipeline company’s stock valued at $2,686,000 after purchasing an additional 11,100 shares in the last quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd. boosted its stake in shares of Williams Companies by 3.7% in the 3rd quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd. now owns 123,263 shares of the pipeline company’s stock valued at $3,699,000 after purchasing an additional 4,341 shares in the last quarter. State of Wisconsin Investment Board boosted its stake in shares of Williams Companies by 5.7% in the 3rd quarter. State of Wisconsin Investment Board now owns 1,030,681 shares of the pipeline company’s stock valued at $30,931,000 after purchasing an additional 55,900 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Gabelli Funds LLC boosted its stake in shares of Williams Companies by 1.6% in the 3rd quarter. Gabelli Funds LLC now owns 287,000 shares of the pipeline company’s stock valued at $8,613,000 after purchasing an additional 4,500 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 85.56% of the company’s stock.
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Williams Companies Company Profile
The Williams Companies, Inc is an energy infrastructure company. The Company is focused on connecting North America’s hydrocarbon resource plays to markets for natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGL), and olefins. As of December 31, 2016, its interstate gas pipelines, midstream and olefins production interests were held through its investment in Williams Partners L.P.
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