Zacks: Brokerages Set $47.00 Price Target for UNITIL Corporation (UTL)

UNITIL Corporation (NYSE:UTL) has been assigned a consensus broker rating score of 2.00 (Buy) from the two analysts that cover the stock, Zacks Investment Research reports. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. UNITIL’s rating score has improved by 33.3% in the last three months as a result of a number of analysts’ ratings changes.

Analysts have set a twelve-month consensus price target of $47.00 for the company and are expecting that the company will post $0.92 earnings per share for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Zacks has also given UNITIL an industry rank of 209 out of 265 based on the ratings given to related companies.

UTL has been the topic of a number of recent research reports. Janney Montgomery Scott upgraded shares of UNITIL from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and cut their price target for the stock from $52.00 to $50.00 in a report on Tuesday, December 26th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $47.00 price target on shares of UNITIL in a report on Wednesday, October 18th. Bank of America initiated coverage on shares of UNITIL in a report on Monday, December 18th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $49.00 price target on the stock. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of UNITIL from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $58.00 price target on the stock in a report on Wednesday, November 1st.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Fuller & Thaler Asset Management Inc. raised its stake in UNITIL by 65.7% during the fourth quarter. Fuller & Thaler Asset Management Inc. now owns 12,615 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $575,000 after buying an additional 5,000 shares during the last quarter. Monashee Investment Management LLC bought a new position in UNITIL during the fourth quarter worth $2,053,000. Citadel Advisors LLC bought a new position in UNITIL during the fourth quarter worth $1,000,000. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in UNITIL by 0.5% during the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 1,067,410 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $48,694,000 after buying an additional 4,807 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Schroder Investment Management Group increased its stake in UNITIL by 83.6% in the fourth quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 7,821 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $357,000 after purchasing an additional 3,561 shares in the last quarter. 57.60% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of UNITIL (NYSE UTL) traded down $0.28 during trading hours on Friday, hitting $42.76. 30,124 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 77,091. The firm has a market capitalization of $644.54, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.07 and a beta of 0.13. The company has a current ratio of 1.00, a quick ratio of 0.95 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.13. UNITIL has a 52 week low of $40.92 and a 52 week high of $52.84.

UNITIL (NYSE:UTL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The utilities provider reported $0.79 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.76 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $115.40 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $107.40 million. UNITIL had a net margin of 7.14% and a return on equity of 9.38%. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.73 earnings per share. research analysts anticipate that UNITIL will post 2.14 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, February 28th. Investors of record on Wednesday, February 14th will be paid a dividend of $0.365 per share. This represents a $1.46 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.41%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, February 13th. This is an increase from UNITIL’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.36. UNITIL’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 69.90%.

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UNITIL Company Profile

Unitil Corporation is a public utility holding company. The Company’s principal business is the local distribution of electricity in the southeastern seacoast and state capital regions of New Hampshire and the greater Fitchburg area of north central Massachusetts and the local distribution of natural gas in southeastern New Hampshire, portions of southern Maine to the Lewiston-Auburn area and in the greater Fitchburg area of north central Massachusetts.

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