Shares of NiSource, Inc (NYSE:NI) have earned a consensus recommendation of “Buy” from the fourteen research firms that are currently covering the stock, Marketbeat.com reports. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating on the company. The average 1-year price target among analysts that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $26.61.

NI has been the topic of a number of recent research reports. Zacks Investment Research raised NiSource from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $29.00 target price on the stock in a report on Tuesday, June 13th. Barclays PLC reaffirmed an “equal weight” rating and issued a $26.00 price objective (up previously from $25.00) on shares of NiSource in a research note on Thursday, June 1st. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services started coverage on NiSource in a research note on Friday, May 19th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $27.00 price objective on the stock. Wells Fargo & Company started coverage on NiSource in a research note on Wednesday, August 9th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $30.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $23.00 price objective on shares of NiSource in a research note on Friday, July 14th.

In other NiSource news, Director Michael E. Jesanis bought 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 14th. The stock was purchased at an average price of $26.44 per share, for a total transaction of $52,880.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 34,195 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $904,115.80. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Company insiders own 0.35% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in NiSource by 2.4% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 33,914,394 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $860,069,000 after buying an additional 802,824 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in NiSource by 2,428.6% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 23,705,566 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $563,954,000 after buying an additional 22,768,084 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its stake in NiSource by 70.3% in the first quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 17,428,785 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $414,632,000 after buying an additional 7,194,018 shares in the last quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. boosted its stake in NiSource by 32.8% in the second quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 10,831,595 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $274,689,000 after buying an additional 2,675,042 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Neuberger Berman Group LLC boosted its stake in NiSource by 59.8% in the second quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 3,707,119 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $94,013,000 after buying an additional 1,387,190 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 81.94% of the company’s stock.

NiSource (NI) traded down 0.04% during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $26.86. 762,900 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $26.46 and a 200-day moving average price of $24.99. NiSource has a 12 month low of $21.17 and a 12 month high of $27.22. The stock has a market cap of $8.75 billion, a P/E ratio of 31.16 and a beta of 0.38.

NiSource (NYSE:NI) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.10 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.10. NiSource had a return on equity of 9.17% and a net margin of 5.96%. The company had revenue of $990.70 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $934.95 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.09 earnings per share. On average, analysts anticipate that NiSource will post $1.19 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, November 20th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, October 31st will be paid a $0.175 dividend. This represents a $0.70 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.61%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, October 30th. NiSource’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 81.40%.

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About NiSource

NiSource Inc is an energy holding company. The Company is engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Company operates through two business segments: Gas Distribution Operations and Electric Operations. The Company’s Gas Distribution Operations segment provides natural gas service and transportation for residential, commercial and industrial customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Indiana and Massachusetts.

Analyst Recommendations for NiSource (NYSE:NI)

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