FirstEnergy (FE) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Wednesday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Shares of FirstEnergy have outperformed the industry in the past 12 months. Currently, the company is reporting as a fully-regulated utility firm. The company’s modernization drive and ambitious 'Energizing the Future' plan is progressing well and is aimed at upgrading the transmission capabilities. FirstEnergy's transformational investment will strengthen the balance sheet by lowering existing debts. However, the risks of unplanned outages, high debt-capital ratio and stringent regulatory norms are headwinds. Any delay in the completion of the ongoing capital project will hurt operations and profitability, going forward.”

Other research analysts have also issued reports about the company. Morgan Stanley boosted their price target on FirstEnergy from $41.00 to $43.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 12th. Bank of America boosted their price target on FirstEnergy from $41.00 to $46.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, March 28th. Finally, Barclays raised FirstEnergy from an equal weight rating to an overweight rating and boosted their price target for the stock from $40.00 to $46.00 in a research report on Wednesday, March 20th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company. FirstEnergy presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $42.86.

NYSE FE traded up $0.41 on Wednesday, reaching $40.64. 41,834 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 4,989,413. The company has a quick ratio of 0.46, a current ratio of 0.52 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.63. The firm has a market cap of $21.46 billion, a PE ratio of 15.65 and a beta of 0.30. FirstEnergy has a 12 month low of $32.92 and a 12 month high of $42.13.

FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, February 19th. The utilities provider reported $0.50 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.47 by $0.03. The business had revenue of $2.71 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.67 billion. FirstEnergy had a return on equity of 21.13% and a net margin of 10.41%. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.71 EPS. On average, research analysts expect that FirstEnergy will post 2.57 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Saturday, June 1st. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, May 7th will be given a $0.38 dividend. This represents a $1.52 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.74%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, May 6th. FirstEnergy’s payout ratio is 58.69%.

In other news, EVP Leila L. Vespoli sold 24,400 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, March 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $41.33, for a total value of $1,008,452.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in FirstEnergy by 0.6% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 59,070,063 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,218,080,000 after buying an additional 331,380 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in FirstEnergy by 4.4% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 58,780,161 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,184,859,000 after buying an additional 2,480,578 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc increased its position in FirstEnergy by 4.4% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 58,780,161 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,184,859,000 after buying an additional 2,480,578 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC increased its position in FirstEnergy by 15.9% during the 4th quarter. FMR LLC now owns 10,979,972 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $412,298,000 after buying an additional 1,509,442 shares in the last quarter. Finally, TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC increased its position in FirstEnergy by 3.7% during the 3rd quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 8,448,139 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $314,017,000 after buying an additional 301,536 shares in the last quarter. 90.75% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

FirstEnergy Company Profile

FirstEnergy Corp., through its subsidiaries, generates, transmits, and distributes electricity in the United States. The company operates through Regulated Distribution and Regulated Transmission segments. It owns and operates coal-fired, nuclear, hydroelectric, natural gas, wind, and solar power generating facilities.

Recommended Story: Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on FirstEnergy (FE)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE)

Receive News & Ratings for FirstEnergy Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for FirstEnergy and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.