Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note released on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “The huge investment that American Electric plans to make, may weigh on its finances in the near term. Also, American Electric operates in the spot market that faces the risk of volatile market prices, which in turn is likely to affect its margins and revenues. Moreover, American Electric is exposed to environmental risks since its power plants produce large quantities of nitrogen, sulfur, mercury and carbon dioxide. It enters into contracts to sell power in the spot market, thereby facing the risk of volatile market prices, which could affect its margins and revenues. However, its continuous focus on augmenting earnings base has directed its capital expenditure toward regulated businesses.”

Several other equities research analysts also recently commented on AEP. BidaskClub raised American Electric Power from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Tuesday, August 22nd. KeyCorp reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $73.00 price target on shares of American Electric Power in a research report on Friday, September 1st. Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $71.00 price target on shares of American Electric Power in a research report on Monday, September 4th. Morgan Stanley reissued an equal weight rating on shares of American Electric Power in a report on Friday, September 8th. Finally, Mizuho cut American Electric Power from a buy rating to a neutral rating and dropped their price objective for the stock from $74.00 to $73.00 in a report on Friday, September 22nd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $74.82.

American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) traded down $0.22 on Tuesday, reaching $76.29. 1,943,200 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 2,303,896. The firm has a market cap of $37,634.15, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.99, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 4.46 and a beta of 0.30. American Electric Power has a 1-year low of $61.03 and a 1-year high of $78.07. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.01, a quick ratio of 0.43 and a current ratio of 0.56.

American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The utilities provider reported $1.10 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.16 by ($0.06). American Electric Power had a net margin of 12.21% and a return on equity of 9.67%. The firm had revenue of $4.10 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.42 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $1.30 earnings per share. American Electric Power’s revenue for the quarter was down 12.8% on a year-over-year basis. analysts forecast that American Electric Power will post 3.61 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 8th. Investors of record on Friday, November 10th were given a dividend of $0.62 per share. This represents a $2.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.25%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, November 9th. This is a positive change from American Electric Power’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.59. American Electric Power’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 64.92%.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of AEP. Meeder Asset Management Inc. increased its position in shares of American Electric Power by 188.7% during the 3rd quarter. Meeder Asset Management Inc. now owns 5,333 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $375,000 after purchasing an additional 3,486 shares in the last quarter. Homrich & Berg grew its position in shares of American Electric Power by 2.0% during the 2nd quarter. Homrich & Berg now owns 16,034 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,114,000 after buying an additional 321 shares during the period. Captrust Financial Advisors acquired a new stake in shares of American Electric Power during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $630,000. Neuberger Berman Group LLC grew its position in shares of American Electric Power by 5.5% during the 2nd quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 724,256 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $50,314,000 after buying an additional 37,578 shares during the period. Finally, Raymond James Trust N.A. grew its position in shares of American Electric Power by 3.4% during the 3rd quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. now owns 25,915 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,820,000 after buying an additional 861 shares during the period. 71.16% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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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 service areas of the Company’s public utility subsidiaries cover the states of Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

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