Northwest Natural Holding Co (NYSE:NWN) has been given a consensus recommendation of “Hold” by the six analysts that are covering the firm, Marketbeat.com reports. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell recommendation, one has given a hold recommendation and two have given a buy recommendation to the company. The average 1 year price target among analysts that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $62.67.

A number of analysts have weighed in on NWN shares. Maxim Group started coverage on shares of Northwest Natural in a research note on Tuesday, January 8th. They set a “buy” rating and a $72.00 target price on the stock. Guggenheim reaffirmed a “sell” rating and set a $49.00 target price on shares of Northwest Natural in a research note on Monday, January 7th. TheStreet raised shares of Northwest Natural from a “c” rating to a “b-” rating in a research note on Friday, March 1st. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Northwest Natural from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $68.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Thursday, February 7th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co boosted their target price on shares of Northwest Natural from $65.00 to $67.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research note on Monday, March 4th.

In other news, Director C Scott Gibson sold 1,746 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.31, for a total transaction of $114,031.26. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Tod R. Hamachek sold 600 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.21, for a total transaction of $39,126.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 28,918 shares of company stock worth $1,873,347 in the last ninety days. Insiders own 1.19% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Whitehelm Capital Pty Ltd raised its holdings in shares of Northwest Natural by 15.0% during the first quarter. Whitehelm Capital Pty Ltd now owns 38,225 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,509,000 after purchasing an additional 4,983 shares during the period. Mackenzie Financial Corp acquired a new stake in shares of Northwest Natural in the 3rd quarter worth about $224,000. AMP Capital Investors Ltd raised its holdings in shares of Northwest Natural by 3.3% in the 3rd quarter. AMP Capital Investors Ltd now owns 27,792 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,848,000 after acquiring an additional 900 shares during the last quarter. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC raised its holdings in shares of Northwest Natural by 54.3% in the 3rd quarter. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC now owns 20,455 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,368,000 after acquiring an additional 7,198 shares during the last quarter. Finally, IMS Capital Management acquired a new stake in shares of Northwest Natural in the 3rd quarter worth about $69,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 68.52% of the company’s stock.

Shares of NYSE NWN traded down $0.21 during midday trading on Monday, reaching $65.45. 60,308 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 120,016. The stock has a market cap of $1.88 billion, a PE ratio of 28.09, a PEG ratio of 6.64 and a beta of 0.40. Northwest Natural has a one year low of $56.90 and a one year high of $71.81. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.93, a quick ratio of 0.49 and a current ratio of 0.58.

Northwest Natural (NYSE:NWN) last posted its earnings results on Friday, March 1st. The utilities provider reported $1.27 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.18 by $0.09. The firm had revenue of $226.70 million for the quarter. Northwest Natural had a net margin of 9.13% and a return on equity of 8.82%. As a group, sell-side analysts predict that Northwest Natural will post 2.27 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, May 15th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, April 30th will be given a dividend of $0.475 per share. The ex-dividend date is Monday, April 29th. This represents a $1.90 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.90%. Northwest Natural’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 81.55%.

Northwest Natural Company Profile

Northwest Natural Holding Company, through its subsidiary, Northwest Natural Gas Company, provides regulated natural gas distribution services to residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. It is also involved in the gas storage activities, water businesses, and other investments and activities.

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