Southwest Gas (SWX) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Southwest Gas (NYSE:SWX) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Friday, January 12th.

According to Zacks, “Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc. is an energy holding company based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc. owns two primary operating companies, Southwest Gas Corporation and Centuri Construction Group, Inc. Southwest Gas Corporation is a regulated utility and provides natural gas service to more than 1.9 million residential, commercial, and industrial customers in most of Arizona and Nevada, and parts of northeastern and southeastern California. Centuri Construction Group, Inc., is a full-service underground piping contractor that primarily provides utility companies with trenching and installation, replacement, and maintenance services for energy distribution systems, and develops industrial construction solutions. Centuri Construction Group Inc. operates in major markets across the United States and Canada. “

A number of other brokerages also recently issued reports on SWX. Citigroup increased their price target on shares of Southwest Gas from $79.00 to $82.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a report on Monday, November 20th. UBS Group increased their price target on shares of Southwest Gas from $83.00 to $85.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a report on Wednesday, November 8th. KeyCorp reissued a hold rating on shares of Southwest Gas in a report on Friday, October 20th. Finally, Jefferies Group reissued a hold rating and issued a $70.00 price target on shares of Southwest Gas in a report on Monday, October 16th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $83.00.

Shares of Southwest Gas (NYSE:SWX) traded down $1.77 during trading hours on Friday, reaching $74.30. 204,600 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 163,575. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.01, a current ratio of 0.82 and a quick ratio of 0.82. The company has a market capitalization of $3,630.96, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.85, a PEG ratio of 3.59 and a beta of 0.61. Southwest Gas has a 12-month low of $72.32 and a 12-month high of $86.87.

Southwest Gas (NYSE:SWX) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, November 7th. The utilities provider reported $0.21 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.14 by $0.07. Southwest Gas had a net margin of 6.64% and a return on equity of 9.56%. The firm had revenue of $593.15 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $579.40 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.05 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.8% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts expect that Southwest Gas will post 3.38 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 1st. Investors of record on Thursday, February 15th will be paid a $0.495 dividend. This represents a $1.98 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.66%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, February 14th. Southwest Gas’s dividend payout ratio is currently 58.24%.

In related news, VP Gregory J. Peterson sold 1,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $85.72, for a total value of $85,720.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, VP Kenneth J. Kenny sold 600 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $80.17, for a total transaction of $48,102.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 16,746 shares in the company, valued at $1,342,526.82. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 5,120 shares of company stock worth $423,096 over the last ninety days. 0.99% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in SWX. Macquarie Group Ltd. raised its stake in Southwest Gas by 53.9% in the second quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 1,353,810 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $98,909,000 after purchasing an additional 474,320 shares in the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC raised its stake in shares of Southwest Gas by 336.6% during the second quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 370,700 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $27,083,000 after acquiring an additional 285,800 shares in the last quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Southwest Gas by 44.3% during the third quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 492,353 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $38,216,000 after acquiring an additional 151,106 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC raised its stake in shares of Southwest Gas by 13.0% during the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 890,233 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $65,040,000 after acquiring an additional 102,527 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bessemer Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Southwest Gas by 171.8% during the third quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 96,994 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $7,529,000 after acquiring an additional 61,313 shares in the last quarter. 77.41% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Southwest Gas

Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc, formerly Southwest Gas Corporation, is engaged in the business of purchasing, distributing and transporting natural gas. The Company operates through two segments: natural gas operations and construction services, which includes the operations of the Company’s subsidiary, Centuri Construction Group, Inc (Centuri).

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