Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Aqua America Inc. (NYSE:WTR) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report released on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Aqua America’s extensive network of water and wastewater systems, continuous investments in regulated assets will help it to provide high quality and reliable water services to its expanding customer base. The company is also gaining from constructive rate decisions in different states it operates. The company pushes forward on its inorganic growth strategy to increase its customer base and expand service territories. However, Aqua America Inc. runs an inherent risk of contamination of water sources, which could raise its operating costs and fluctuating weather conditions can lower the demand for water. In addition, securing essential funds for growth projects at a favorable rate could pose challenges for this capital intensive utility.”

Separately, Barclays PLC reduced their target price on shares of Aqua America from $38.00 to $34.00 and set an equal weight rating on the stock in a report on Tuesday, September 6th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $31.94.

Aqua America (NYSE:WTR) opened at 30.07 on Tuesday. Aqua America has a one year low of $25.38 and a one year high of $35.83. The company has a 50 day moving average of $32.07 and a 200-day moving average of $32.49. The firm has a market cap of $5.33 billion, a PE ratio of 25.70 and a beta of 0.42.

Aqua America (NYSE:WTR) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, August 2nd. The company reported $0.33 EPS for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $0.33. Aqua America had a net margin of 25.44% and a return on equity of 13.05%. The business had revenue of $203.88 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $209.61 million. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.32 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down .9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts predict that Aqua America will post $1.33 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 1st. Stockholders of record on Thursday, August 18th were issued a dividend of $0.1913 per share. This is a positive change from Aqua America’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.18. This represents a $0.77 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.54%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, August 16th. Aqua America’s dividend payout ratio is presently 66.38%.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. raised its position in shares of Aqua America by 0.5% in the second quarter. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. now owns 3,327 shares of the company’s stock valued at $119,000 after buying an additional 17 shares during the last quarter. Tuttle Tactical Management LLC raised its position in shares of Aqua America by 0.5% in the second quarter. Tuttle Tactical Management LLC now owns 5,736 shares of the company’s stock valued at $197,000 after buying an additional 31 shares during the last quarter. Roffman Miller Associates Inc. PA raised its position in shares of Aqua America by 0.9% in the second quarter. Roffman Miller Associates Inc. PA now owns 14,219 shares of the company’s stock valued at $507,000 after buying an additional 120 shares during the last quarter. Whittier Trust Co. raised its position in shares of Aqua America by 3.1% in the second quarter. Whittier Trust Co. now owns 3,952 shares of the company’s stock valued at $141,000 after buying an additional 120 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Murphy Capital Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Aqua America by 1.3% in the second quarter. Murphy Capital Management Inc. now owns 11,262 shares of the company’s stock valued at $401,000 after buying an additional 150 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 48.06% of the company’s stock.

Aqua America Company Profile

Aqua America, Inc is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides water or wastewater services in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana and Virginia, among others. It is the holding company for its subsidiary, Aqua Pennsylvania, Inc Its market-based activities are conducted through Aqua Resources Inc and Aqua Infrastructure, LLC.

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