Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Thursday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $170.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of NextEra Energy have outperformed the industry’s rally in the last 12 months.  Investment made by the company to strengthen its infrastructure helped it overcome the difficult situation and quickly restore normalcy of operations in difficult weather conditions.  The company is consistently registering an increase in consumer count. The company’s focus on clean energy has lowered emission levels and saved on energy bills for its customers. The natural gas pipelines, which came online in first half, are expected to boost its performance. On the flip side, the company’s nature of business is subject to complex and comprehensive federal, state and other regulations. Unpredictable impact of natural disaster and delay in completion of ongoing projects could also impact profitability.”

A number of other analysts have also commented on NEE. JPMorgan Chase & Co. initiated coverage on NextEra Energy in a research report on Thursday, September 7th. They issued an overweight rating and a $173.00 price objective for the company. Morgan Stanley lifted their price objective on NextEra Energy from $167.00 to $169.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research report on Friday, September 8th. KeyCorp reiterated a buy rating and issued a $155.00 price objective on shares of NextEra Energy in a research report on Thursday, October 12th. Bank of America initiated coverage on NextEra Energy in a research report on Tuesday, October 24th. They issued a buy rating and a $166.00 price objective for the company. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a buy rating and issued a $156.00 price objective on shares of NextEra Energy in a research report on Tuesday, November 7th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fifteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $159.63.

Shares of NextEra Energy (NEE) traded up $1.25 during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching $152.96. The company had a trading volume of 1,810,000 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,850,000. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.11, a quick ratio of 0.49 and a current ratio of 0.61. The firm has a market capitalization of $71,950.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.19, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.80 and a beta of 0.31. NextEra Energy has a 1 year low of $117.33 and a 1 year high of $159.40.

NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 26th. The utilities provider reported $1.85 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.77 by $0.08. The firm had revenue of $4.81 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.89 billion. NextEra Energy had a return on equity of 11.86% and a net margin of 24.81%. The company’s revenue was up .1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.74 earnings per share. analysts expect that NextEra Energy will post 6.73 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, November 24th were issued a dividend of $0.9825 per share. This represents a $3.93 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.57%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, November 22nd. NextEra Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 44.16%.

In other news, EVP Joseph T. Kelliher sold 2,000 shares of NextEra Energy stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, October 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $150.00, for a total transaction of $300,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, CEO Armando Pimentel, Jr. sold 42,372 shares of NextEra Energy stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, December 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $157.45, for a total value of $6,671,471.40. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 121,958 shares in the company, valued at approximately $19,202,287.10. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 74,372 shares of company stock worth $11,517,071. Company insiders own 0.53% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Achmea Investment Management B.V. lifted its holdings in shares of NextEra Energy by 61.5% during the 3rd quarter. Achmea Investment Management B.V. now owns 52,613 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $7,708,000 after purchasing an additional 20,028 shares in the last quarter. Almanack Investment Partners LLC. lifted its holdings in shares of NextEra Energy by 64.6% during the 2nd quarter. Almanack Investment Partners LLC. now owns 2,163 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $303,000 after purchasing an additional 849 shares in the last quarter. Colony Group LLC lifted its holdings in shares of NextEra Energy by 806.4% during the 2nd quarter. Colony Group LLC now owns 15,517 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,174,000 after purchasing an additional 13,805 shares in the last quarter. South Dakota Investment Council bought a new position in shares of NextEra Energy during the 3rd quarter valued at about $2,535,000. Finally, Cookson Peirce & Co. Inc. bought a new position in shares of NextEra Energy during the 2nd quarter valued at about $9,809,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.39% of the company’s stock.

ILLEGAL ACTIVITY NOTICE: This report was originally reported by Watch List News and is owned by of Watch List News. If you are reading this report on another website, it was stolen and reposted in violation of U.S. & international copyright and trademark legislation. The correct version of this report can be accessed at https://www.watchlistnews.com/nextera-energy-nee-rating-increased-to-buy-at-zacks-investment-research/1798849.html.

About NextEra Energy

NextEra Energy, Inc (NEE) is a holding company. The Company is an electric power companies in North America and, through its subsidiary NextEra Energy Resources, LLC (NEER) and its affiliated entities, is the generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun. NEE also owns and/or operates generation, transmission and distribution facilities to support its services to retail and wholesale customers, and has investments in gas infrastructure assets.

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on NextEra Energy (NEE)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE)

Receive News & Ratings for NextEra Energy Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for NextEra Energy and related companies with Analyst Ratings Network's FREE daily email newsletter.