Teachers Retirement System of The State of Kentucky reduced its position in Essential Utilities, Inc. (NYSE:WTRG – Get Rating) by 6.8% during the 1st quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 30,016 shares of the company’s stock after selling 2,200 shares during the period. Teachers Retirement System of The State of Kentucky’s holdings in Essential Utilities were worth $1,535,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Hazlett Burt & Watson Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Essential Utilities in the 1st quarter valued at $25,000. Selective Wealth Management Inc. bought a new position in Essential Utilities during the first quarter valued at about $36,000. MCF Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Essential Utilities in the first quarter worth about $38,000. 1832 Asset Management L.P. bought a new stake in shares of Essential Utilities during the 1st quarter worth about $38,000. Finally, Herold Advisors Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Essential Utilities during the 1st quarter valued at about $41,000. 69.79% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Wall Street Analysts Forecast Growth
WTRG has been the subject of several analyst reports. Northcoast Research initiated coverage on Essential Utilities in a report on Monday, July 18th. They issued a “buy” rating for the company. Robert W. Baird upped their price objective on shares of Essential Utilities from $50.00 to $54.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Friday, August 5th. HSBC upgraded shares of Essential Utilities from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their target price for the company from $53.00 to $57.00 in a research note on Thursday, August 18th. Bank of America lowered shares of Essential Utilities from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $52.00 target price for the company. in a research report on Friday, September 9th. Finally, Barclays lowered their price target on Essential Utilities from $54.00 to $51.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a research report on Monday, July 18th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. According to MarketBeat, the company has a consensus rating of “Moderate Buy” and an average price target of $53.33.
Essential Utilities Price Performance
Essential Utilities (NYSE:WTRG – Get Rating) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, August 3rd. The company reported $0.31 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $0.31. Essential Utilities had a net margin of 21.93% and a return on equity of 8.58%. The business had revenue of $448.76 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $413.00 million. Analysts expect that Essential Utilities, Inc. will post 1.78 EPS for the current year.
Essential Utilities Increases Dividend
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 1st. Stockholders of record on Friday, August 12th were issued a dividend of $0.287 per share. This represents a $1.15 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.53%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 11th. This is a positive change from Essential Utilities’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.27. Essential Utilities’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 67.65%.
Essential Utilities Profile
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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