Essential Utilities (NYSE:WTRG) Downgraded to Sell at lowered shares of Essential Utilities (NYSE:WTRGGet Rating) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report issued on Monday morning.

Other analysts have also recently issued research reports about the stock. Northcoast Research cut shares of Essential Utilities from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a research note on Thursday, May 18th. UBS Group raised shares of Essential Utilities from a neutral rating to a buy rating and raised their target price for the stock from $54.00 to $55.00 in a report on Monday, February 6th. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated an outperform rating and issued a $54.00 target price on shares of Essential Utilities in a research report on Thursday, March 16th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company decreased their price target on shares of Essential Utilities from $53.00 to $52.00 and set an overweight rating on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, February 28th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company. Based on data from MarketBeat, the company currently has a consensus rating of Moderate Buy and a consensus target price of $52.38.

Essential Utilities Stock Up 0.7 %

NYSE WTRG opened at $40.52 on Monday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.18, a current ratio of 0.63 and a quick ratio of 0.52. The stock has a market capitalization of $10.71 billion, a PE ratio of 23.42, a PEG ratio of 3.87 and a beta of 0.79. Essential Utilities has a 1 year low of $38.50 and a 1 year high of $52.42. The business’s 50-day moving average is $42.79 and its 200 day moving average is $45.25.

Essential Utilities (NYSE:WTRGGet Rating) last released its earnings results on Monday, May 8th. The company reported $0.72 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.74 by ($0.02). Essential Utilities had a net margin of 19.75% and a return on equity of 8.48%. The business had revenue of $726.45 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $682.87 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.76 earnings per share. Essential Utilities’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.9% on a year-over-year basis. Sell-side analysts forecast that Essential Utilities will post 1.86 earnings per share for the current year.

Essential Utilities Dividend Announcement

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 1st. Shareholders of record on Friday, May 12th will be given a $0.287 dividend. This represents a $1.15 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.83%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, May 11th. Essential Utilities’s dividend payout ratio is presently 66.47%.

Insider Buying and Selling

In other Essential Utilities news, CEO Chris Franklin bought 37,245 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, March 8th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $40.70 per share, for a total transaction of $1,515,871.50. Following the acquisition, the chief executive officer now owns 37,245 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,515,871.50. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. 0.18% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Institutional Investors Weigh In On Essential Utilities

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. WealthPLAN Partners LLC bought a new stake in shares of Essential Utilities in the first quarter worth $25,000. BOKF NA acquired a new stake in Essential Utilities in the 1st quarter valued at about $27,000. Atlantic Private Wealth LLC purchased a new stake in Essential Utilities during the first quarter valued at about $28,000. EWG Elevate Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Essential Utilities in the 4th quarter valued at about $29,000. Finally, Piscataqua Savings Bank increased its holdings in shares of Essential Utilities by 50.0% in the 1st quarter. Piscataqua Savings Bank now owns 750 shares of the company’s stock valued at $33,000 after purchasing an additional 250 shares during the period. 69.96% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Essential Utilities

(Get Rating)

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.

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Analyst Recommendations for Essential Utilities (NYSE:WTRG)

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