Williams Partners (NYSE:WPZ) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Monday.
According to Zacks, “Williams Partners’ increasing debt load, which is weighing on the partnership’s balance sheet, could raise liquidity issues. Also, unfavorable government ruling for environmental needs could delay the partnership’s current and upcoming pipeline projects. Moreover, the partnership’s earnings lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate during the fourth quarter of 2017. The downside was mainly due to higher operating and maintenance expenses. Compared to the S&P 500, the Williams Partners’ stock is overvalued as its trailing 12-month EV/EBITDA ratio of 14.6, is above the S&P 500 ratio of 13.6. Hence, it might be a good idea to stay away from stocks belonging to this industry.”
WPZ has been the topic of a number of other reports. Royal Bank of Canada reissued a “hold” rating and set a $47.00 price target on shares of Williams Partners in a research report on Tuesday, January 16th. Credit Suisse Group started coverage on shares of Williams Partners in a research report on Thursday, January 4th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $48.00 price target on the stock. US Capital Advisors raised shares of Williams Partners from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, January 4th. Jefferies Group reissued a “buy” rating and set a $45.00 price target on shares of Williams Partners in a research report on Wednesday, December 20th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus set a $45.00 price target on shares of Williams Partners and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, December 1st. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $46.20.
In other Williams Partners news, insider John D. Seldenrust sold 6,770 shares of Williams Partners stock in a transaction dated Thursday, December 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $38.76, for a total value of $262,405.20. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link.
Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Captrust Financial Advisors bought a new stake in Williams Partners in the fourth quarter worth about $174,000. Saratoga Research & Investment Management bought a new stake in Williams Partners in the third quarter worth about $188,000. Stuart Chaussee & Associates Inc. bought a new stake in Williams Partners in the fourth quarter worth about $187,000. CAPROCK Group Inc. bought a new stake in Williams Partners in the fourth quarter worth about $217,000. Finally, Pitcairn Co. bought a new stake in Williams Partners in the fourth quarter worth about $221,000. 21.78% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
About Williams Partners
Williams Partners L.P. is an energy infrastructure company. The Company has operations across the natural gas value chain from gathering, processing, and interstate transportation of natural gas and natural gas liquids to petchem production of ethylene, propylene, and other olefins. It operates through its Northeast G&P, Atlantic-Gulf, West segment.
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