Van ECK Associates Corp Grows Holdings in Atmos Energy Co. (NYSE:ATO)

Van ECK Associates Corp raised its position in Atmos Energy Co. (NYSE:ATOGet Rating) by 4.6% during the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 30,080 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after purchasing an additional 1,322 shares during the period. Van ECK Associates Corp’s holdings in Atmos Energy were worth $3,064,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria S.A. boosted its stake in shares of Atmos Energy by 3.1% during the 2nd quarter. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria S.A. now owns 3,067 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $344,000 after buying an additional 91 shares during the last quarter. Delta Financial Advisors LLC boosted its stake in shares of Atmos Energy by 1.2% during the 3rd quarter. Delta Financial Advisors LLC now owns 7,923 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $807,000 after buying an additional 97 shares during the last quarter. Fifth Third Bancorp boosted its stake in shares of Atmos Energy by 5.1% during the 2nd quarter. Fifth Third Bancorp now owns 2,141 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $240,000 after buying an additional 104 shares during the last quarter. Stratos Wealth Partners LTD. boosted its stake in shares of Atmos Energy by 0.4% during the 2nd quarter. Stratos Wealth Partners LTD. now owns 27,619 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,096,000 after buying an additional 105 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Prudential PLC boosted its stake in shares of Atmos Energy by 2.6% during the 2nd quarter. Prudential PLC now owns 4,237 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $475,000 after buying an additional 106 shares during the last quarter. 91.03% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Analysts Set New Price Targets

ATO has been the subject of several research analyst reports. Morgan Stanley increased their target price on Atmos Energy from $120.00 to $128.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Thursday, December 15th. StockNews.com cut Atmos Energy from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Thursday, December 8th. Seaport Res Ptn restated a “neutral” rating on shares of Atmos Energy in a research note on Monday, October 24th. Mizuho reduced their price objective on Atmos Energy from $132.00 to $128.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, November 14th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company raised their price objective on Atmos Energy from $123.00 to $132.00 in a research note on Wednesday, December 14th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. According to data from MarketBeat, the stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $121.71.

Atmos Energy Price Performance

Shares of NYSE ATO opened at $116.38 on Friday. Atmos Energy Co. has a 1-year low of $97.71 and a 1-year high of $122.96. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61, a current ratio of 0.85 and a quick ratio of 0.75. The business’s fifty day moving average price is $114.30 and its two-hundred day moving average price is $112.40. The firm has a market capitalization of $16.41 billion, a PE ratio of 20.56, a P/E/G ratio of 2.52 and a beta of 0.59.

Atmos Energy (NYSE:ATOGet Rating) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, November 9th. The utilities provider reported $0.51 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.45 by $0.06. Atmos Energy had a return on equity of 8.61% and a net margin of 18.43%. The firm had revenue of $722.70 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $659.68 million. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.37 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 27.1% on a year-over-year basis. On average, research analysts expect that Atmos Energy Co. will post 5.97 EPS for the current year.

Atmos Energy Increases Dividend

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, December 12th. Stockholders of record on Monday, November 28th were issued a dividend of $0.74 per share. This represents a $2.96 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.54%. This is a positive change from Atmos Energy’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.68. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, November 25th. Atmos Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 52.30%.

Insider Activity

In other news, VP Richard M. Thomas sold 1,100 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $110.37, for a total transaction of $121,407.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 2,891 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $319,079.67. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 0.50% of the company’s stock.

About Atmos Energy

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Atmos Energy Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the regulated natural gas distribution, and pipeline and storage businesses in the United States. It operates through two segments, Distribution, and Pipeline and Storage. The Distribution segment is involved in the regulated natural gas distribution and related sales operations in eight states.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Atmos Energy (NYSE:ATO)

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