Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Avista Corporation (NYSE:AVA) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report released on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Avista Corp. is a diversified energy company with utility and subsidiary operations located throughout North America. Avista Corp. also operates Avista Capital, which owns all the company’s non-regulated energy and non-energy businesses. Avista Capital companies include Avista Energy, Avista Energy Canada, Ltd., Avista Power, Avista Advantage, Avista Labs, Avista Fiber, Avista Communiations, Avista Development and Pentzer Corporation. (PRESS RELEASE) “

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently commented on AVA. BidaskClub raised Avista Corporation from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, June 20th. Williams Capital cut Avista Corporation from a hold rating to a sell rating and raised their price objective for the company from $38.00 to $42.00 in a research note on Thursday, July 20th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reissued a hold rating and issued a $53.00 price objective on shares of Avista Corporation in a research note on Friday, July 21st. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $47.75.

Avista Corporation (NYSE:AVA) opened at 52.23 on Tuesday. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $51.71 and a 200 day moving average price of $46.12. Avista Corporation has a 12 month low of $37.78 and a 12 month high of $52.83. The firm has a market capitalization of $3.36 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.70 and a beta of 0.45.

Avista Corporation (NYSE:AVA) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.34 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.37 by ($0.03). Avista Corporation had a net margin of 9.35% and a return on equity of 8.19%. The firm had revenue of $314.50 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $326.33 million. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.43 EPS. The company’s revenue was down 1.3% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts anticipate that Avista Corporation will post $1.95 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, August 31st were paid a $0.3575 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, August 29th. This represents a $1.43 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.74%. Avista Corporation’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 67.77%.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Advisors Asset Management Inc. boosted its position in shares of Avista Corporation by 0.3% during the second quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. now owns 13,628 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $579,000 after buying an additional 39 shares during the last quarter. Arizona State Retirement System boosted its position in shares of Avista Corporation by 0.3% during the second quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 33,622 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,428,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the last quarter. Eqis Capital Management Inc. boosted its position in shares of Avista Corporation by 1.4% during the second quarter. Eqis Capital Management Inc. now owns 9,124 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $387,000 after buying an additional 125 shares during the last quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. boosted its position in shares of Avista Corporation by 3.3% during the second quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. now owns 5,653 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $240,000 after buying an additional 183 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. boosted its position in shares of Avista Corporation by 2.5% during the first quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 8,194 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $320,000 after buying an additional 196 shares during the last quarter. 69.66% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Avista Corporation

Avista Corporation is an electric and natural gas utility company. The Company operates through two segments: Avista Utilities, and Alaska Electric Light and Power Company (AEL&P). The Company’s regional services include government and higher education, medical services, retail trade and finance. The Company’s businesses also include sheet metal fabrication, venture fund investments, real estate investments, a company that explores markets that could be served with liquefied natural gas (LNG), as well as certain other investments of Avista Capital, which is a subsidiary of the Company.

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