ALLETE (ALE) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of ALLETE (NYSE:ALE) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “ALLETE is an energy company. In addition to its electric utilities, Minnesota Power and Superior Water, Light and Power of Wisconsin, ALLETE owns ALLETE Clean Energy, based in Duluth, U.S. Water Services headquartered in St. Michael, Minn., BNI Energy in Center, N.D., and has an eight percent equity interest in the American Transmission Co. “

A number of other analysts have also weighed in on the stock. ValuEngine upgraded shares of ALLETE from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Monday, October 8th. Wells Fargo & Co upped their target price on shares of ALLETE from $76.00 to $77.00 and gave the stock a market perform rating in a research note on Monday, September 17th. Finally, Guggenheim restated a hold rating and set a $71.00 target price on shares of ALLETE in a research note on Monday, July 23rd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $74.25.

Shares of NYSE:ALE opened at $73.59 on Thursday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.69, a quick ratio of 0.80 and a current ratio of 1.09. The stock has a market cap of $3.78 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.07, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.61 and a beta of 0.17. ALLETE has a 1 year low of $66.64 and a 1 year high of $81.24.

ALLETE (NYSE:ALE) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 1st. The utilities provider reported $0.67 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.75 by ($0.08). The business had revenue of $348.00 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $366.00 million. ALLETE had a return on equity of 7.46% and a net margin of 11.12%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 4.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.72 earnings per share. Analysts anticipate that ALLETE will post 3.4 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Saturday, December 1st. Investors of record on Thursday, November 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.56 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, November 14th. This represents a $2.24 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.04%. ALLETE’s payout ratio is 70.22%.

In related news, Director James J. Hoolihan sold 800 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $76.49, for a total value of $61,192.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 13,632 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,042,711.68. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Chairman Alan R. Hodnik sold 4,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.70, for a total value of $302,800.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.42% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Strs Ohio boosted its holdings in ALLETE by 9.3% in the second quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 8,200 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $634,000 after purchasing an additional 700 shares in the last quarter. FDx Advisors Inc. boosted its holdings in ALLETE by 14.6% in the second quarter. FDx Advisors Inc. now owns 5,927 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $459,000 after purchasing an additional 754 shares in the last quarter. Arizona State Retirement System boosted its holdings in ALLETE by 2.5% in the third quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 36,469 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,736,000 after purchasing an additional 873 shares in the last quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. boosted its holdings in ALLETE by 14.7% in the second quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 6,959 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $538,000 after purchasing an additional 894 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Laurion Capital Management LP boosted its holdings in ALLETE by 29.0% in the second quarter. Laurion Capital Management LP now owns 4,000 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $309,000 after purchasing an additional 900 shares in the last quarter. 73.34% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

ALLETE Company Profile

ALLETE, Inc operates as an energy company. The company operates through three segments: Regulated Operations, ALLETE Clean Energy, and U.S. Water Services. It generates electricity from coal-fired, natural gas-fired, biomass co-fired, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and other sources. The company provides regulated electric, natural gas, and water services in northwestern Wisconsin to approximately 15,000 electric customers, 13,000 natural gas customers, and 10,000 water customers, as well as regulated utility electric services in northeastern Minnesota to approximately 145,000 retail customers and 16 non-affiliated municipal customers.

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