Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of American Electric Power Co. (NYSE:AEP) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “An earnings base of approximately 5.4 million customers offers stability to American Electric’s revenue stream and insulates it from lower sales in any particular service area.  Moreover, the company’s focus on augmenting its earnings has led to its capital expenditure being directed toward regulated businesses. American Electrics also boasts a strong liquidity position worth $3.5 billion as of Jun 30, 2016. Additionally, focus on expansion of transmission, curtailment of unregulated generation costs and efficient capital allocation will allow the company to attain its 4–6% long-term EPS growth target. On the flip side, uncertain ruling from regulatory proceedings and fluctuating commodity prices are potential setbacks; going forward.”

Several other research analysts also recently weighed in on AEP. Deutsche Bank AG reaffirmed a buy rating on shares of American Electric Power in a report on Wednesday, May 18th. Citigroup Inc. upped their target price on shares of American Electric Power from $61.00 to $68.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a report on Wednesday, July 20th. Barclays PLC upped their target price on shares of American Electric Power from $75.00 to $77.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a report on Friday, July 29th. Morgan Stanley reaffirmed a hold rating on shares of American Electric Power in a report on Wednesday, June 15th. Finally, Bank of America Corp. reaffirmed a buy rating on shares of American Electric Power in a report on Tuesday, May 24th. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company. American Electric Power currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $68.11.

American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) opened at 65.42 on Wednesday. American Electric Power has a 52 week low of $53.30 and a 52 week high of $71.32. The company has a market capitalization of $32.17 billion, a PE ratio of 16.15 and a beta of 0.24. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $66.17 and its 200-day moving average price is $66.17.

American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 28th. The company reported $0.95 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.90 by $0.05. American Electric Power had a net margin of 12.50% and a return on equity of 9.54%. The firm earned $3.90 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.01 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.88 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.6% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts predict that American Electric Power will post $3.69 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 9th. Investors of record on Wednesday, August 10th were given a $0.56 dividend. This represents a $2.24 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.42%. American Electric Power’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 55.17%.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. State Street Corp raised its stake in American Electric Power by 7.5% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 25,117,238 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,667,787,000 after buying an additional 1,758,073 shares during the period. BlackRock Fund Advisors raised its stake in American Electric Power by 7.6% in the second quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 10,520,383 shares of the company’s stock worth $737,374,000 after buying an additional 740,983 shares during the period. FMR LLC raised its stake in American Electric Power by 72.8% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 9,114,402 shares of the company’s stock worth $638,828,000 after buying an additional 3,840,681 shares during the period. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its stake in American Electric Power by 10.1% in the first quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 7,370,135 shares of the company’s stock worth $489,376,000 after buying an additional 678,053 shares during the period. Finally, Alliancebernstein L.P. raised its stake in American Electric Power by 3.9% in the second quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 6,149,393 shares of the company’s stock worth $431,011,000 after buying an additional 233,632 shares during the period. 69.19% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About American Electric Power

American Electric Power Company, Inc (AEP) is a public utility holding company that owns, directly or indirectly, all of the outstanding common stock of its public utility subsidiaries and varying percentages of other subsidiaries. The Company’s segments include Vertically Integrated Utilities, Transmission and Distribution Utilities, AEP Transmission Holdco, and Generation & Marketing.

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