South Jersey Industries (NYSE:SJI) Raised to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of South Jersey Industries (NYSE:SJI) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report report published on Wednesday morning, Zacks.com reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $29.00 price objective on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “South Jersey Industries, Inc., an energy services holding company based in Folsom, NJ, delivers energy solutions to its customers through three primary subsidiaries. South Jersey Gas delivers safe, reliable, affordable natural gas and promotes energy efficiency to customers in southern New Jersey. SJI’s non-utility businesses within South Jersey Energy Solutions promote efficiency, clean technology and renewable energy by providing customized wholesale commodity marketing and fuel management services; acquiring and marketing natural gas and electricity for retail customers; and developing, owning and operating on-site energy production facilities. SJI Midstream is also an SJI subsidiary and houses the company’s interest in the PennEast Pipeline Project. “

Several other brokerages have also recently weighed in on SJI. Wells Fargo & Company cut South Jersey Industries from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating and boosted their target price for the stock from $24.00 to $25.00 in a report on Monday, November 29th. Morgan Stanley cut their target price on South Jersey Industries from $25.00 to $24.00 and set an equal weight rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, September 17th. Finally, Maxim Group reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $31.00 price objective on shares of South Jersey Industries in a research note on Friday, November 5th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Based on data from MarketBeat.com, the stock currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $27.00.

SJI stock opened at $26.03 on Wednesday. The firm has a market cap of $2.93 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 30.62, a PEG ratio of 2.67 and a beta of 0.90. The firm has a 50-day simple moving average of $24.89 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $24.37. South Jersey Industries has a one year low of $20.75 and a one year high of $29.24. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.74, a quick ratio of 0.62 and a current ratio of 0.70.

South Jersey Industries (NYSE:SJI) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, November 3rd. The utilities provider reported ($0.17) EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of ($0.19) by $0.02. South Jersey Industries had a net margin of 4.06% and a return on equity of 9.80%. The company had revenue of $365.63 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $286.98 million. During the same period last year, the business earned ($0.06) EPS. As a group, equities analysts predict that South Jersey Industries will post 1.62 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, December 29th. Investors of record on Friday, December 10th were paid a dividend of $0.31 per share. This represents a $1.24 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.76%. This is a boost from South Jersey Industries’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.30. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 9th. South Jersey Industries’s payout ratio is presently 145.88%.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in SJI. Concourse Financial Group Securities Inc. acquired a new stake in South Jersey Industries in the third quarter valued at approximately $34,000. Captrust Financial Advisors increased its position in shares of South Jersey Industries by 76.0% in the 3rd quarter. Captrust Financial Advisors now owns 3,712 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $79,000 after purchasing an additional 1,603 shares during the last quarter. Costello Asset Management INC raised its holdings in shares of South Jersey Industries by 12.3% in the 3rd quarter. Costello Asset Management INC now owns 4,550 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $97,000 after purchasing an additional 500 shares in the last quarter. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan Trust Fund purchased a new stake in shares of South Jersey Industries during the 2nd quarter worth $150,000. Finally, XTX Topco Ltd purchased a new stake in shares of South Jersey Industries during the 2nd quarter worth $220,000. 84.86% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

South Jersey Industries Company Profile

South Jersey Industries, Inc is a holding company, which engages in the provision of energy-related products and services. It operates through the following segments: SJG Utility Operations; ETG Utility Operations; ELK Utility Operations, Wholesale Energy Operations; Retail Electric Operations; Appliance Service Operations; Midstream; and Corporate & Services.

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