Southwest Gas (NYSE:SWX) Cut to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Southwest Gas (NYSE:SWX) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Thursday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc. is an energy holding company based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc. owns two primary operating companies, Southwest Gas Corporation and Centuri Construction Group, Inc. Southwest Gas Corporation is a regulated utility and provides natural gas service to more than 1.9 million residential, commercial, and industrial customers in most of Arizona and Nevada, and parts of northeastern and southeastern California. Centuri Construction Group, Inc., is a full-service underground piping contractor that primarily provides utility companies with trenching and installation, replacement, and maintenance services for energy distribution systems, and develops industrial construction solutions. Centuri Construction Group Inc. operates in major markets across the United States and Canada. “

A number of other equities analysts have also recently weighed in on the stock. Wells Fargo & Co upped their price objective on shares of Southwest Gas from $73.00 to $75.00 and gave the stock an underweight rating in a research report on Monday, May 11th. UBS Group upgraded shares of Southwest Gas from a neutral rating to a buy rating and reduced their target price for the company from $83.00 to $78.00 in a research report on Wednesday, April 1st. Citigroup cut their price objective on shares of Southwest Gas from $90.00 to $87.00 and set a neutral rating for the company in a research report on Tuesday, April 28th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut their price objective on shares of Southwest Gas from $85.00 to $81.00 and set an overweight rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, April 23rd. Finally, Jefferies Financial Group cut their price objective on shares of Southwest Gas from $72.00 to $69.00 and set a hold rating for the company in a research report on Friday, July 24th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $77.83.

Shares of NYSE SWX opened at $69.64 on Thursday. The company’s fifty day moving average price is $68.67 and its 200 day moving average price is $71.94. Southwest Gas has a 1 year low of $45.68 and a 1 year high of $92.94. The company has a market capitalization of $3.84 billion, a PE ratio of 18.47, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.03 and a beta of 0.26. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.91, a quick ratio of 0.69 and a current ratio of 0.69.

Southwest Gas (NYSE:SWX) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 7th. The utilities provider reported $1.31 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.53 by ($0.22). The firm had revenue of $836.32 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $538.75 million. Southwest Gas had a return on equity of 8.37% and a net margin of 6.14%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up .3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company posted $1.77 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts expect that Southwest Gas will post 3.83 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, September 1st. Shareholders of record on Monday, August 17th will be paid a dividend of $0.57 per share. This represents a $2.28 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.27%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, August 14th. Southwest Gas’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 57.87%.

In other Southwest Gas news, SVP Eric Debonis sold 400 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.10, for a total transaction of $30,040.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 12,964 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $973,596.40. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Company insiders own 0.75% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of SWX. Ellevest Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Southwest Gas by 47.7% in the first quarter. Ellevest Inc. now owns 629 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $44,000 after purchasing an additional 203 shares during the period. Pearl River Capital LLC purchased a new position in Southwest Gas in the first quarter worth approximately $61,000. Sowell Financial Services LLC purchased a new position in Southwest Gas in the first quarter worth approximately $71,000. Golden State Wealth Management LLC purchased a new position in Southwest Gas in the first quarter worth approximately $72,000. Finally, Verus Capital Partners LLC purchased a new position in Southwest Gas in the fourth quarter worth approximately $72,000. 85.65% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Southwest Gas

Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc, through its subsidiaries, purchases, distributes, and transports natural gas in Arizona, Nevada, and California. The company operates through two segments, Natural Gas Operations and Utility Infrastructure Services. As of December 31, 2018, it had 2,047,000 residential, commercial, industrial, and other natural gas customers.

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