Unitil Co. (NYSE:UTL) Receives Consensus Recommendation of “Hold” from Analysts

Shares of Unitil Co. (NYSE:UTL) have received a consensus broker rating score of 2.50 (Hold) from the two brokers that provide coverage for the company, Zacks Investment Research reports. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell recommendation and one has issued a strong buy recommendation on the company.

Brokerages have set a one year consensus target price of $58.50 for the company and are expecting that the company will post ($0.03) EPS for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Zacks has also assigned Unitil an industry rank of 156 out of 256 based on the ratings given to related companies.

Separately, Zacks Investment Research cut Unitil from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, April 4th.

In related news, VP Todd R. Black sold 500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $57.05, for a total value of $28,525.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 26,440 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,508,402. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Company insiders own 2.39% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Quantamental Technologies LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Unitil during the 4th quarter worth approximately $25,000. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Unitil by 33.8% in the fourth quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 1,270 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $65,000 after buying an additional 321 shares during the period. Advisors Asset Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Unitil by 95.8% in the fourth quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. now owns 1,876 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $95,000 after buying an additional 918 shares during the period. Federated Investors Inc. PA raised its stake in shares of Unitil by 96.2% in the first quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA now owns 1,787 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $97,000 after buying an additional 876 shares during the period. Finally, Legal & General Group Plc raised its stake in shares of Unitil by 9.9% in the fourth quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 2,596 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $132,000 after buying an additional 234 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 67.11% of the company’s stock.

UTL stock traded down $0.14 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $57.52. 46,570 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 42,759. The company has a quick ratio of 0.76, a current ratio of 0.81 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.00. The firm has a market capitalization of $860.29 million, a PE ratio of 25.79, a PEG ratio of 6.40 and a beta of 0.10. Unitil has a 52-week low of $46.21 and a 52-week high of $59.79.

Unitil (NYSE:UTL) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, April 25th. The utilities provider reported $1.12 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.35 by ($0.23). The company had revenue of $152.10 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $147.60 million. Unitil had a net margin of 9.75% and a return on equity of 9.63%. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Unitil will post 2.3 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, May 29th. Investors of record on Wednesday, May 15th were issued a dividend of $0.37 per share. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.57%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, May 14th. Unitil’s payout ratio is 66.37%.

About Unitil

Unitil Corporation, a public utility holding company, engages in the distribution of electricity and natural gas in the United States. It operates through three segments: Utility Gas Operations, Utility Electric Operations, and Non-Regulated. The company distributes electricity in the southeastern seacoast and state capital regions of New Hampshire, and the greater Fitchburg area of north central Massachusetts; and distributes 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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