Avista (NYSE:AVA) Rating Lowered to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Avista (NYSE:AVAGet Rating) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report issued on Wednesday morning, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Avista Corporation is an energy company involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy as well as other energy-related businesses. Avista Utilities is its operating division that provides electric service customers and natural gas customers. Its service territory covers in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and parts of southern and eastern Oregon. Alaska Energy and Resources Company is an Avista subsidiary that provides retail electric service in the city and borough of Juneau, Alaska, through its subsidiary Alaska Electric Light and Power Company. “

Several other equities research analysts also recently issued reports on AVA. Mizuho assumed coverage on Avista in a research report on Thursday, March 10th. They issued a neutral rating and a $47.00 price target on the stock. StockNews.com started coverage on shares of Avista in a research note on Thursday, March 31st. They set a hold rating for the company.

NYSE AVA opened at $42.18 on Wednesday. Avista has a 12 month low of $37.73 and a 12 month high of $47.90. The company’s 50 day simple moving average is $44.63 and its 200 day simple moving average is $42.59. The company has a market capitalization of $3.05 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.18, a PEG ratio of 3.41 and a beta of 0.59. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.90, a current ratio of 0.48 and a quick ratio of 0.38.

Avista (NYSE:AVAGet Rating) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, February 23rd. The utilities provider reported $0.71 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.68 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $418.80 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $431.18 million. Avista had a return on equity of 7.02% and a net margin of 10.33%. Avista’s quarterly revenue was up 13.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.86 earnings per share. On average, analysts anticipate that Avista will post 1.98 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, March 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, February 18th were paid a $0.44 dividend. This represents a $1.76 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.17%. This is a boost from Avista’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.42. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, February 17th. Avista’s payout ratio is presently 84.21%.

In related news, VP David J. Meyer sold 1,400 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, March 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $45.28, for a total value of $63,392.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, VP Bryan Alden Cox sold 2,381 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $44.29, for a total transaction of $105,454.49. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders sold 15,481 shares of company stock valued at $692,691. Company insiders own 0.94% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in AVA. First Horizon Advisors Inc. lifted its holdings in Avista by 121.1% in the fourth quarter. First Horizon Advisors Inc. now owns 639 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $27,000 after buying an additional 350 shares during the period. Evoke Wealth LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Avista during the 3rd quarter valued at $39,000. Covestor Ltd purchased a new stake in Avista during the fourth quarter worth about $58,000. Convergence Investment Partners LLC purchased a new position in shares of Avista during the 1st quarter valued at $144,000. Finally, Krane Funds Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in Avista during the fourth quarter valued at about $146,000. 81.31% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Avista (Get Rating)

Avista Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as an electric and natural gas utility company. It operates in two segments, Avista Utilities and AEL&P. The Avista Utilities segment provides electric distribution and transmission, and natural gas distribution services in parts of eastern Washington and northern Idaho; and natural gas distribution services in parts of northeastern and southwestern Oregon, as well as generates electricity in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Montana.

Further Reading

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