PPL (PPL) Upgraded to “Hold” by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of PPL (NYSE:PPL) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “PPL Corp is poised to gain from its capital investment plan that primarily focuses on infrastructure construction projects for generation, transmission and distribution. It has re-established its hedge levels to shield itself from any near-term decline in the GBP .Recent acquisition of Safari Energy could boost its earnings and diverse its revenue stream. However, in the last 12 months, shares of PPL Corporation have underperformed the industry’s rally. The company's operations are subject to stringent emission regulation high debt levels amid rising interest rates and risks of unplanned outage of power plants are some of the headwinds of the company.”

PPL has been the topic of a number of other research reports. ValuEngine upgraded PPL from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, November 13th. Desjardins restated an average rating and set a $52.00 price target on shares of PPL in a report on Monday, January 7th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co boosted their price target on PPL from $32.00 to $33.00 and gave the company a market perform rating in a report on Monday, September 17th. Seven investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. PPL has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $35.33.

PPL opened at $29.50 on Friday. The stock has a market capitalization of $21.09 billion, a PE ratio of 13.11, a P/E/G ratio of 2.40 and a beta of 0.46. The company has a current ratio of 0.58, a quick ratio of 0.51 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.69. PPL has a 12 month low of $25.30 and a 12 month high of $32.46.

PPL (NYSE:PPL) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 1st. The utilities provider reported $0.59 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.56 by $0.03. PPL had a return on equity of 15.23% and a net margin of 19.17%. The company had revenue of $1.87 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.98 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.56 EPS. PPL’s revenue was up 1.5% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts predict that PPL will post 2.35 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, January 2nd. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 10th were issued a dividend of $0.41 per share. The ex-dividend date was Friday, December 7th. This represents a $1.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 5.56%. PPL’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 72.89%.

In other news, SVP Joanne H. Raphael sold 22,410 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $31.00, for a total value of $694,710.00. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 39,209 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,215,479. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Chairman Paul W. Thompson sold 4,573 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $28.25, for a total value of $129,187.25. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now directly owns 7,419 shares in the company, valued at $209,586.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 31,556 shares of company stock worth $953,085 in the last quarter. Company insiders own 0.38% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Sound Income Strategies LLC boosted its position in shares of PPL by 623.7% in the 4th quarter. Sound Income Strategies LLC now owns 3,481 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $99,000 after purchasing an additional 3,000 shares in the last quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue boosted its position in shares of PPL by 1.1% in the 4th quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 140,102 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,968,000 after purchasing an additional 1,503 shares in the last quarter. Arlington Partners LLC bought a new stake in shares of PPL in the 4th quarter worth approximately $28,000. Moody National Bank Trust Division boosted its position in shares of PPL by 0.8% in the 4th quarter. Moody National Bank Trust Division now owns 72,397 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,051,000 after purchasing an additional 572 shares in the last quarter. Finally, North Star Investment Management Corp. boosted its position in shares of PPL by 88.2% in the 4th quarter. North Star Investment Management Corp. now owns 6,403 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $181,000 after purchasing an additional 3,000 shares in the last quarter. 75.97% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About PPL

PPL Corporation, a utility holding company, delivers electricity and natural gas in the United States and the United Kingdom. The company operates in three segments: U.K. Regulated, Kentucky Regulated, and Pennsylvania Regulated. It serves 411,000 electric and 326,000 natural gas customers in Louisville and adjacent areas in Kentucky; 525,000 customers in central, southeastern, and western Kentucky; and approximately 28,000 customers in 5 counties in southwestern Virginia, and 3 customers in Tennessee.

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