Avantax Advisory Services Inc. Purchases 3,943 Shares of Essential Utilities, Inc. (NYSE:WTRG)

Avantax Advisory Services Inc. increased its position in Essential Utilities, Inc. (NYSE:WTRGGet Rating) by 43.6% in the 3rd quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 12,989 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 3,943 shares during the period. Avantax Advisory Services Inc.’s holdings in Essential Utilities were worth $537,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other hedge funds also recently bought and sold shares of WTRG. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund boosted its position in Essential Utilities by 4.0% in the third quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 69,604 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,880,000 after purchasing an additional 2,658 shares during the last quarter. Kestra Advisory Services LLC grew its position in Essential Utilities by 144.9% during the third quarter. Kestra Advisory Services LLC now owns 47,673 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,973,000 after buying an additional 28,209 shares during the period. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can purchased a new stake in Essential Utilities during the third quarter valued at approximately $37,855,000. Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd. raised its position in Essential Utilities by 13.6% in the third quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. Ltd. now owns 71,192 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,946,000 after acquiring an additional 8,500 shares during the period. Finally, Coston McIsaac & Partners boosted its stake in shares of Essential Utilities by 11.9% during the 3rd quarter. Coston McIsaac & Partners now owns 67,140 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,778,000 after acquiring an additional 7,142 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 69.96% of the company’s stock.

Essential Utilities Trading Down 0.2 %

Shares of WTRG opened at $46.46 on Tuesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $12.19 billion, a PE ratio of 26.25, a P/E/G ratio of 4.01 and a beta of 0.76. The company’s fifty day moving average is $47.85 and its 200 day moving average is $47.04. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.16, a quick ratio of 0.37 and a current ratio of 0.64. Essential Utilities, Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $38.50 and a fifty-two week high of $52.62.

Essential Utilities (NYSE:WTRGGet Rating) last posted its earnings results on Monday, November 7th. The company reported $0.26 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.23 by $0.03. Essential Utilities had a net margin of 22.04% and a return on equity of 8.84%. The firm had revenue of $434.62 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $376.00 million. Sell-side analysts expect that Essential Utilities, Inc. will post 1.78 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Essential Utilities Announces Dividend

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, March 1st. Investors of record on Friday, February 10th will be issued a dividend of $0.287 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, February 9th. This represents a $1.15 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.47%. Essential Utilities’s payout ratio is presently 64.97%.

Insider Buying and Selling

In other news, Director Ellen T. Ruff sold 8,560 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.96, for a total value of $410,537.60. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 26,972 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,293,577.12. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. 0.17% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Analysts Set New Price Targets

A number of equities research analysts have recently issued reports on the stock. StockNews.com upgraded Essential Utilities from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 28th. Evercore ISI reduced their price target on Essential Utilities to $44.00 in a research report on Thursday, October 20th. UBS Group lifted their price objective on Essential Utilities from $45.00 to $52.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Tuesday, November 29th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company boosted their price objective on Essential Utilities to $53.00 in a research note on Wednesday, December 14th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company. Based on data from MarketBeat, Essential Utilities presently has a consensus rating of “Moderate Buy” and a consensus target price of $51.86.

About Essential Utilities

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Essential Utilities, Inc is a holding company, which engages in providing water, wastewater and natural gas services through its subsidiaries. It operates through the Regulated Water and Regulated Natural Gas segments. The Regulated Water segment includes water and wastewater regulated utility companies.

Further Reading

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

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