NiSource Inc. (NI) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

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NiSource Inc. (NYSE:NI) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday.
According to Zacks, “NiSource Inc.’s consistent investments to further strengthen its infrastructure and in its regulated operations will continue to drive its results. NiSource’s regulated business model provides visibility to its forward earnings. The company's strong liquidity position and improving credit rating will allow it to obtain additional funds at cheaper costs. However, despite investing in upgrade programs, NiSource faces the risk of disruption in operation from its ageing infrastructure. Further, delays in completion of projects increase capital costs and stretch the time limit of NiSource’s expected benefit from these projects.”
Several other equities research analysts have also weighed in on the company. Evercore ISI lowered NiSource from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $23.75 price target on the stock. in a research report on Wednesday, July 6th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. restated a “hold” rating and set a $26.00 price target on shares of NiSource in a research report on Wednesday, August 3rd. Citigroup Inc. lifted their price target on NiSource from $18.08 to $27.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 27th. Argus restated a “hold” rating on shares of NiSource in a research report on Monday, July 11th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group AG set a $25.00 price target on NiSource and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, August 8th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $24.34.

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Shares of NiSource (NYSE:NI) opened at 25.38 on Thursday. NiSource has a 52-week low of $17.30 and a 52-week high of $26.94. The stock has a market capitalization of $8.18 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 30.88 and a beta of 0.25. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $24.45 and a 200-day moving average price of $24.30.
NiSource (NYSE:NI) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, August 2nd. The company reported $0.08 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.07 by $0.01. NiSource had a return on equity of 8.75% and a net margin of 6.18%. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.18 EPS. On average, equities analysts anticipate that NiSource will post $1.07 earnings per share for the current year.
The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, November 18th. Shareholders of record on Monday, October 31st will be issued a $0.165 dividend. This represents a $0.66 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.60%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, October 27th. NiSource’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 80.49%.
In other NiSource news, VP Teresa M. Smith sold 1,200 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $23.75, for a total value of $28,500.00. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 37,883 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $899,721.25. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. 0.32% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in NI. Norges Bank acquired a new position in shares of NiSource during the fourth quarter worth about $63,763,000. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. increased its position in shares of NiSource by 4.8% in the first quarter. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. now owns 270,558 shares of the company’s stock worth $6,374,000 after buying an additional 12,430 shares during the last quarter. Exxonmobil Investment Management Inc. TX increased its position in shares of NiSource by 9.0% in the first quarter. Exxonmobil Investment Management Inc. TX now owns 77,849 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,834,000 after buying an additional 6,422 shares during the last quarter. Sigma Planning Corp increased its position in shares of NiSource by 3.0% in the first quarter. Sigma Planning Corp now owns 10,747 shares of the company’s stock worth $253,000 after buying an additional 314 shares during the last quarter. Finally, PGGM Investments increased its position in shares of NiSource by 6.4% in the first quarter. PGGM Investments now owns 272,549 shares of the company’s stock worth $6,421,000 after buying an additional 16,413 shares during the last quarter. 82.28% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
NiSource Company Profile
NiSource Inc is an energy holding company. The Company is engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Company operates through two business segments: Gas Distribution Operations and Electric Operations. The Gas Distribution Operations segment provides natural gas service and transportation for residential, commercial and industrial customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Indiana and Massachusetts.

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