Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Kinder Morgan, Inc. (NYSE:KMI) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “Kinder Morgan has the largest network of natural gas pipeline in North America that spreads over almost 70,000 miles. Most importantly, the company’s midstream properties are linked to all the prospective plays in the U.S. that are rich in natural gas. These extensive pipeline networks, for which almost $32 billion has been invested to date, have been providing Kinder Morgan with stable fee-based revenues. In fact, the company believes that 91% of cash flow in 2017 will come from fee-based contracts. For the second quarter, the company reported in-line earnings, attributed to increased contribution from liquid terminals. However, the bottom line fell year over year owing to higher expenses and negative impact of tariff rates on Colorado Interstate Gas Company pipeline. Also, the company’s total debt now stands higher than equity capital, reflecting balance sheet weakness.”

Several other analysts also recently weighed in on the stock. Raymond James Financial, Inc. reaffirmed a buy rating on shares of Kinder Morgan in a report on Saturday, July 22nd. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $20.00 target price on shares of Kinder Morgan in a report on Thursday, July 20th. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $25.00 target price on shares of Kinder Morgan in a report on Friday, July 14th. BidaskClub raised shares of Kinder Morgan from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a report on Wednesday, July 5th. Finally, Morgan Stanley reaffirmed an overweight rating and issued a $25.00 target price on shares of Kinder Morgan in a report on Monday, July 3rd. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating, thirteen have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $23.91.

Kinder Morgan (NYSE KMI) opened at 20.40 on Thursday. Kinder Morgan has a 12 month low of $18.31 and a 12 month high of $23.36. The firm has a market cap of $45.56 billion, a P/E ratio of 67.33 and a beta of 0.63. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $19.38 and a 200-day moving average of $20.68. Kinder Morgan also was the target of some unusual options trading activity on Friday. Stock investors acquired 465 call options on the stock. This is an increase of approximately 122% compared to the average volume of 209 call options.

Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, July 19th. The pipeline company reported $0.14 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.15 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $3.37 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.12 billion. Kinder Morgan had a net margin of 6.20% and a return on equity of 4.41%. The firm’s revenue was up 7.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.15 EPS. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Kinder Morgan will post $0.64 earnings per share for the current year.

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The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, August 15th. Shareholders of record on Monday, July 31st will be given a dividend of $0.125 per share. This represents a $0.50 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.45%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, July 27th. Kinder Morgan’s payout ratio is currently 161.29%.

Kinder Morgan declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a share repurchase program on Wednesday, July 19th that allows the company to buyback $2.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the pipeline company to buy up to 4.6% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are usually an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

In other Kinder Morgan news, VP Dax Sanders bought 2,600 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, May 30th. The stock was bought at an average price of $18.60 per share, for a total transaction of $48,360.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, insider Richard D. Kinder bought 500,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, May 30th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $18.58 per share, with a total value of $9,290,000.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 234,712,353 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,360,955,518.74. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders own 13.99% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. First Bank & Trust boosted its position in shares of Kinder Morgan by 9.4% in the first quarter. First Bank & Trust now owns 4,739 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $103,000 after buying an additional 408 shares during the last quarter. Trust Co. of Vermont increased its stake in shares of Kinder Morgan by 10.3% in the second quarter. Trust Co. of Vermont now owns 7,197 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $138,000 after buying an additional 675 shares during the period. CWM LLC increased its stake in shares of Kinder Morgan by 770.5% in the second quarter. CWM LLC now owns 8,052 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $154,000 after buying an additional 7,127 shares during the period. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America increased its stake in shares of Kinder Morgan by 0.8% in the first quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America now owns 7,416 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $161,000 after buying an additional 60 shares during the period. Finally, Salem Investment Counselors Inc. increased its stake in shares of Kinder Morgan by 20.6% in the first quarter. Salem Investment Counselors Inc. now owns 7,959 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $171,000 after buying an additional 1,359 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 57.65% of the company’s stock.

About Kinder Morgan

Kinder Morgan, Inc is an energy infrastructure company. It operates through five segments. Its Natural Gas Pipelines segment is engaged in the ownership and operation of interstate and intrastate natural gas pipeline and storage systems, and liquefied natural gas facilities, among others. Its CO2 segment is engaged in the production, transportation and marketing of carbon dioxide (CO2) to oil fields and the ownership and operation of a crude oil pipeline system, among others.

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