Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Duke Energy’s hefty investment plans for the next five years is expected to improve its business by generating cleaner energy and bolstering its renewable asset base, buoys optimism. The acquisition of Piedmont Natural Gas is also expected to offer substantial boost to its business. Duke Energy also pursues a systematic asset divestment initiative. Moreover, it outperformed the broader industry in the last year. Yet, stringent environmental regulations, severe weather patterns and foreign exchange risks may hinder Duke Energy’s performance. Further, adverse outcome from pending regulatory cases may also negatively impact its earnings. Potential volatility in market prices of fuel, electricity and other renewable energy commodities could create operational risks for the company.”

A number of other equities analysts have also recently commented on the stock. Royal Bank Of Canada reissued a buy rating and issued a $87.00 price objective on shares of Duke Energy Corporation in a research note on Tuesday. BidaskClub raised shares of Duke Energy Corporation from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 22nd. Morgan Stanley lifted their price target on shares of Duke Energy Corporation from $87.00 to $89.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a research note on Thursday, August 10th. Deutsche Bank AG reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $84.00 price target (up from $83.00) on shares of Duke Energy Corporation in a research note on Wednesday, August 9th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $87.00 price target (up from $85.00) on shares of Duke Energy Corporation in a research note on Friday, August 4th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $82.91.

Shares of Duke Energy Corporation (DUK) opened at 87.28 on Wednesday. The firm has a market cap of $61.09 billion, a P/E ratio of 25.85 and a beta of 0.24. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $85.34 and its 200 day moving average price is $83.50. Duke Energy Corporation has a 12-month low of $72.34 and a 12-month high of $87.75.

Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 3rd. The utilities provider reported $1.01 EPS for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.01. Duke Energy Corporation had a net margin of 9.89% and a return on equity of 7.72%. The business had revenue of $5.56 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.76 billion. During the same period last year, the company posted $1.07 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 6.6% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts forecast that Duke Energy Corporation will post $4.60 EPS for the current year.

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The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, September 18th. Stockholders of record on Friday, August 18th will be issued a $0.89 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, August 16th. This represents a $3.56 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.08%. This is a positive change from Duke Energy Corporation’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.86. Duke Energy Corporation’s payout ratio is currently 105.64%.

In other news, EVP Douglas F. Esamann sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $86.22, for a total value of $431,100.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 50,316 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,338,245.52. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Insiders own 0.07% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Hennessy Advisors Inc. raised its stake in Duke Energy Corporation by 1.5% in the first quarter. Hennessy Advisors Inc. now owns 379,737 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $31,142,000 after buying an additional 5,500 shares in the last quarter. Hexavest Inc. raised its position in Duke Energy Corporation by 4.4% in the first quarter. Hexavest Inc. now owns 780,241 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $63,988,000 after buying an additional 32,947 shares during the period. Pegasus Partners Ltd. raised its position in Duke Energy Corporation by 0.5% in the first quarter. Pegasus Partners Ltd. now owns 23,034 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,889,000 after buying an additional 110 shares during the period. Brookstone Capital Management raised its position in Duke Energy Corporation by 7.9% in the first quarter. Brookstone Capital Management now owns 78,707 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $6,455,000 after buying an additional 5,795 shares during the period. Finally, Norinchukin Bank The raised its position in Duke Energy Corporation by 5.9% in the first quarter. Norinchukin Bank The now owns 81,297 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $6,667,000 after buying an additional 4,531 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 56.22% of the company’s stock.

About Duke Energy Corporation

Duke Energy Corporation (Duke Energy) is an energy company. The Company operates through three segments: Electric Utilities and Infrastructure; Gas Utilities and Infrastructure, and Commercial Renewables. The Company operates in the United States through its direct and indirect subsidiaries. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure segment provides retail electric service through the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 7.5 million customers within the Southeast and Midwest regions of the United States.

Analyst Recommendations for Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK)

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