Williams Companies (NYSE:WMB) Downgraded to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Williams Companies (NYSE:WMBGet Rating) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $40.00 target price on the pipeline company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “With U.S. natural gas demand projected to grow significantly in the long term, The Williams Companies seems to be well positioned to capitalize on the same owing to its impressive portfolio of large-scale value creating projects. The firm’s attractive exposure to the nation's natural gas supply growth also bodes well for the energy infrastructure provider. Williams’ thriving deepwater transportation business and its attractive dividend yield are other positives. However, the company's high leverage metrics restricts its financial flexibility. The closure of the Constitution Pipeline project is also a cause of concern. Further, exposure to volume-driven nonregulated business can limit the company’s earnings. Consequently, the energy infrastructure warrants a cautious stance from investors for the time being.”

Several other equities analysts also recently weighed in on WMB. Wells Fargo & Company cut their price target on shares of Williams Companies from $40.00 to $39.00 and set an overweight rating on the stock in a report on Friday, May 20th. Stifel Nicolaus raised their price objective on shares of Williams Companies from $31.00 to $34.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, March 1st. Barclays raised their price objective on shares of Williams Companies from $33.00 to $34.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 23rd. Raymond James raised their price objective on shares of Williams Companies from $36.00 to $40.00 and gave the stock a strong-buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 20th. Finally, StockNews.com initiated coverage on shares of Williams Companies in a research note on Thursday, March 31st. They set a hold rating on the stock. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, nine have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. According to data from MarketBeat, the stock currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $35.86.

Shares of Williams Companies stock opened at $37.82 on Tuesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $46.07 billion, a P/E ratio of 31.52, a PEG ratio of 6.91 and a beta of 1.16. The company has a quick ratio of 0.69, a current ratio of 0.73 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.49. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $35.36 and a 200 day moving average price of $31.38. Williams Companies has a 52 week low of $23.53 and a 52 week high of $37.97.

Williams Companies (NYSE:WMBGet Rating) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Monday, May 2nd. The pipeline company reported $0.41 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.36 by $0.05. Williams Companies had a net margin of 13.95% and a return on equity of 12.20%. The firm had revenue of $2.52 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.19 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.35 EPS. As a group, research analysts anticipate that Williams Companies will post 1.55 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, June 27th. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 10th will be issued a $0.425 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, June 9th. This represents a $1.70 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.49%. Williams Companies’s payout ratio is currently 141.67%.

In other Williams Companies news, SVP Scott A. Hallam sold 15,607 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, April 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $33.30, for a total value of $519,713.10. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 164,054 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,462,998.20. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Company insiders own 0.43% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Bank of America Corp DE raised its holdings in shares of Williams Companies by 17.1% during the 1st quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 35,897,960 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $1,199,352,000 after acquiring an additional 5,244,814 shares during the period. Kestra Private Wealth Services LLC raised its holdings in shares of Williams Companies by 43.1% during the 1st quarter. Kestra Private Wealth Services LLC now owns 34,635 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $1,157,000 after acquiring an additional 10,428 shares during the period. Trust Co. of Oklahoma raised its holdings in shares of Williams Companies by 2.7% during the 1st quarter. Trust Co. of Oklahoma now owns 42,213 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $1,410,000 after acquiring an additional 1,113 shares during the period. Midwest Wealth Management Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Williams Companies by 3.0% during the 1st quarter. Midwest Wealth Management Inc. now owns 64,987 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $2,171,000 after acquiring an additional 1,915 shares during the period. Finally, EverSource Wealth Advisors LLC raised its holdings in shares of Williams Companies by 182.2% during the 1st quarter. EverSource Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 5,001 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $167,000 after acquiring an additional 3,229 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 86.10% of the company’s stock.

About Williams Companies (Get Rating)

The Williams Companies, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, operates as an energy infrastructure company primarily in the United States. It operates through Transmission & Gulf of Mexico, Northeast G&P, West, and Gas & NGL Marketing Services segments. The Transmission & Gulf of Mexico segment comprises Transco and Northwest natural gas pipelines; and natural gas gathering and processing, and crude oil production handling and transportation assets in the Gulf Coast region, as well as various petrochemical and feedstock pipelines.

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