CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE:CNP) was the target of a significant increase in short interest in August. As of August 15th, there was short interest totalling 13,781,848 shares, an increase of 57.6% from the July 31st total of 8,745,790 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 3,212,501 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 4.3 days. Approximately 3.4% of the shares of the company are short sold.

A number of research firms recently issued reports on CNP. Zacks Investment Research lowered CenterPoint Energy from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, June 15th. BidaskClub lowered CenterPoint Energy from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 12th. Credit Suisse Group raised CenterPoint Energy from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and lifted their target price for the stock from $28.82 to $29.00 in a report on Monday, August 14th. Finally, J P Morgan Chase & Co initiated coverage on CenterPoint Energy in a research note on Thursday, June 29th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $29.00 price target on the stock. Nine analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, one has assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. CenterPoint Energy currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $27.78.

Shares of CenterPoint Energy (NYSE CNP) opened at 29.62 on Friday. CenterPoint Energy has a 12-month low of $21.83 and a 12-month high of $29.87. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $28.68 and a 200 day moving average price of $28.01. The firm has a market capitalization of $12.77 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.16 and a beta of 0.64.

CenterPoint Energy (NYSE:CNP) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 3rd. The utilities provider reported $0.29 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.22 by $0.07. CenterPoint Energy had a return on equity of 16.45% and a net margin of 6.86%. The firm had revenue of $2.14 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.98 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.17 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 36.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts expect that CenterPoint Energy will post $1.34 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 8th. Investors of record on Wednesday, August 16th will be given a dividend of $0.2675 per share. The ex-dividend date is Monday, August 14th. This represents a $1.07 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.61%. CenterPoint Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 76.98%.

In related news, CEO Scott M. Prochazka sold 1,000 shares of CenterPoint Energy stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $28.23, for a total transaction of $28,230.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. 0.20% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in shares of CenterPoint Energy by 1,521.6% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 39,034,890 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,076,193,000 after buying an additional 36,627,665 shares during the period. Janus Henderson Group PLC boosted its position in shares of CenterPoint Energy by 8,190.9% in the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 4,550,195 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $124,585,000 after buying an additional 4,495,313 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of CenterPoint Energy by 5.3% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 47,293,206 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,303,873,000 after buying an additional 2,359,375 shares during the period. Royal Bank of Canada boosted its position in shares of CenterPoint Energy by 187.6% in the second quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 2,591,360 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $70,953,000 after buying an additional 1,690,296 shares during the period. Finally, AJO LP boosted its position in shares of CenterPoint Energy by 74.9% in the second quarter. AJO LP now owns 2,540,198 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $69,551,000 after buying an additional 1,087,736 shares during the period. 76.85% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About CenterPoint Energy

CenterPoint Energy, Inc is a public utility holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates electric transmission and distribution facilities, and natural gas distribution facilities. The Electric Transmission & Distribution segment provides electric transmission and distribution services to retail electric providers.

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