DnB Asset Management AS Purchases 13,714 Shares of Essential Utilities, Inc. (NYSE:WTRG)

DnB Asset Management AS increased its stake in Essential Utilities, Inc. (NYSE:WTRGGet Rating) by 28.5% during the second quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 61,764 shares of the company’s stock after purchasing an additional 13,714 shares during the quarter. DnB Asset Management AS’s holdings in Essential Utilities were worth $2,832,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also bought and sold shares of WTRG. Livforsakringsbolaget Skandia Omsesidigt boosted its position in Essential Utilities by 104.1% during the first quarter. Livforsakringsbolaget Skandia Omsesidigt now owns 10,000 shares of the company’s stock valued at $511,000 after buying an additional 5,100 shares during the period. Bank of America Corp DE raised its stake in Essential Utilities by 26.4% in the first quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 697,004 shares of the company’s stock worth $35,638,000 after buying an additional 145,471 shares in the last quarter. Verition Fund Management LLC grew its holdings in Essential Utilities by 41.1% in the first quarter. Verition Fund Management LLC now owns 157,721 shares of the company’s stock worth $8,064,000 after purchasing an additional 45,904 shares during the period. Mirae Asset Global Investments Co. Ltd. grew its holdings in Essential Utilities by 24.1% in the first quarter. Mirae Asset Global Investments Co. Ltd. now owns 18,383 shares of the company’s stock worth $940,000 after purchasing an additional 3,573 shares during the period. Finally, Walleye Capital LLC purchased a new stake in Essential Utilities in the first quarter worth about $2,140,000. Institutional investors own 69.79% of the company’s stock.

Essential Utilities Stock Performance

NYSE:WTRG opened at $45.90 on Wednesday. The firm’s fifty day moving average price is $49.51 and its 200 day moving average price is $47.80. Essential Utilities, Inc. has a 1-year low of $40.97 and a 1-year high of $53.93. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.14, a current ratio of 0.76 and a quick ratio of 0.52. The firm has a market cap of $12.03 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 27.00, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 4.20 and a beta of 0.71.

Essential Utilities (NYSE:WTRGGet Rating) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 3rd. The company reported $0.31 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $0.31. The business had revenue of $448.76 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $413.00 million. Essential Utilities had a return on equity of 8.58% and a net margin of 21.93%. On average, sell-side analysts expect that Essential Utilities, Inc. will post 1.78 EPS for the current year.

Essential Utilities Increases Dividend

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 1st. Stockholders of record on Friday, August 12th were paid a dividend of $0.287 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, August 11th. This represents a $1.15 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.50%. This is an increase from Essential Utilities’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.27. Essential Utilities’s dividend payout ratio is currently 67.65%.

Wall Street Analysts Forecast Growth

WTRG has been the topic of a number of recent analyst reports. Robert W. Baird increased their price target on shares of Essential Utilities from $50.00 to $54.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Friday, August 5th. Barclays decreased their price objective on shares of Essential Utilities from $54.00 to $51.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a research report on Monday, July 18th. Northcoast Research initiated coverage on shares of Essential Utilities in a research note on Monday, July 18th. They set a “buy” rating for the company. Bank of America lowered shares of Essential Utilities from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $52.00 price objective for the company. in a report on Friday, September 9th. Finally, HSBC upgraded shares of Essential Utilities from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their price target for the company from $53.00 to $57.00 in a report on Thursday, August 18th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. According to MarketBeat.com, Essential Utilities has a consensus rating of “Moderate Buy” and a consensus target price of $53.33.

About Essential Utilities

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Essential Utilities, Inc, through its subsidiaries, operates regulated utilities that provide water, wastewater, or natural gas services in the United States. It offers water services through operating and maintenance contract with municipal authorities and other parties. The company also provides non-utility raw water supply services for firms in the natural gas drilling industry; and water and sewer line protection solutions, and repair services to households through a third-party.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Essential Utilities (NYSE:WTRG)

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