Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Chesapeake Utilities (NYSE:CPK) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report released on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Chesapeake Utilities Corporation is a utility company engaged in natural gas distribution and transmission, propane distribution and marketing, advanced information services and other related businesses.Chesapeake’s three natural gas distribution divisions serve residential, commercial and industrial customers in southern Delaware, Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Florida. The Company’s natural gas transmission subsidiary operates an interstate pipeline system that transports gas from various points in Pennsylvania to Delaware and Maryland distribution divisions. “

CPK has been the subject of several other reports. ValuEngine raised Chesapeake Utilities from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Friday, August 17th. Janney Montgomery Scott downgraded Chesapeake Utilities from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $86.00 price target for the company. in a research report on Monday. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co raised their price target on Chesapeake Utilities from $86.00 to $88.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a research report on Monday. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. Chesapeake Utilities currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $87.50.

NYSE CPK opened at $82.35 on Wednesday. Chesapeake Utilities has a 1-year low of $66.35 and a 1-year high of $90.90. The company has a market capitalization of $1.38 billion, a P/E ratio of 28.49, a PEG ratio of 4.10 and a beta of -0.01. The company has a quick ratio of 0.27, a current ratio of 0.30 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.48.

Chesapeake Utilities (NYSE:CPK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 9th. The utilities provider reported $0.48 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.51 by ($0.03). Chesapeake Utilities had a net margin of 9.68% and a return on equity of 10.75%. The firm had revenue of $136.66 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $140.85 million. equities research analysts expect that Chesapeake Utilities will post 3.42 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 5th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 14th will be given a dividend of $0.37 per share. This represents a $1.48 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.80%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 13th. Chesapeake Utilities’s payout ratio is 51.21%.

In other Chesapeake Utilities news, insider John R. Schimkaitis sold 2,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, July 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $85.00, for a total transaction of $212,500.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Company insiders own 4.20% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in CPK. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in Chesapeake Utilities by 13.9% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 1,195,316 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $95,566,000 after buying an additional 145,855 shares in the last quarter. Millennium Management LLC grew its position in shares of Chesapeake Utilities by 131.4% in the first quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 138,449 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $9,740,000 after purchasing an additional 78,623 shares during the period. Cornerstone Wealth Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Chesapeake Utilities in the second quarter valued at $957,000. Citadel Advisors LLC grew its position in shares of Chesapeake Utilities by 941.3% in the first quarter. Citadel Advisors LLC now owns 37,767 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,657,000 after purchasing an additional 34,140 shares during the period. Finally, Renaissance Technologies LLC grew its position in shares of Chesapeake Utilities by 9.3% in the second quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 341,300 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $27,287,000 after purchasing an additional 29,100 shares during the period. 63.67% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Chesapeake Utilities

Chesapeake Utilities Corporation, a diversified energy company, engages in regulated and unregulated energy businesses. The company operates in two segments, Regulated Energy and Unregulated Energy. The Regulated Energy segment engages in the distribution of natural gas in Delaware, Maryland, and Florida; distribution of electricity in Florida; and transmission of natural gas on the Delmarva Peninsula and in Florida.

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