Northwest Natural Gas Company (NYSE:NWN) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “NW Natural is principally engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) has allocated to NW Natural as its exclusive service area a major portion of western Oregon, including the Portland metropolitan area, most of the fertile Willamette Valley and the coastal area from Astoria to Coos Bay. NW Natural also holds certificates from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) granting it exclusive rights to serve portions of three Washington counties bordering the Columbia River. “

Separately, BidaskClub downgraded shares of Northwest Natural Gas from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 19th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating, one has assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Northwest Natural Gas presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $66.00.

Shares of Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE NWN) opened at $66.55 on Wednesday. The stock has a market cap of $1,910.00, a P/E ratio of 30.30, a PEG ratio of 6.83 and a beta of 0.39. The company has a current ratio of 0.98, a quick ratio of 0.69 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89. Northwest Natural Gas has a 1-year low of $53.50 and a 1-year high of $68.60.

Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE:NWN) last posted its earnings results on Friday, November 3rd. The utilities provider reported ($0.30) earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.31) by $0.01. Northwest Natural Gas had a net margin of 8.32% and a return on equity of 7.31%. The firm had revenue of $88.20 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $91.19 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.18 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up .6% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts forecast that Northwest Natural Gas will post 2.17 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In other Northwest Natural Gas news, VP Grant M. Yoshihara sold 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.03, for a total value of $132,060.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 15,301 shares in the company, valued at $1,010,325.03. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Director Martha L. Byorum sold 1,202 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, September 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $64.88, for a total transaction of $77,985.76. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 1,202 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $77,985.76. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 13,202 shares of company stock valued at $879,666. Insiders own 1.48% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of NWN. BlackRock Inc. grew its stake in shares of Northwest Natural Gas by 12,672.6% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 3,607,352 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $213,194,000 after acquiring an additional 3,579,109 shares in the last quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. grew its stake in shares of Northwest Natural Gas by 225.2% in the third quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 359,343 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $23,141,000 after acquiring an additional 248,857 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its stake in shares of Northwest Natural Gas by 4.7% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 2,703,884 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $159,800,000 after acquiring an additional 120,458 shares in the last quarter. First Trust Advisors LP grew its stake in shares of Northwest Natural Gas by 13.9% in the second quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 368,087 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $22,030,000 after acquiring an additional 44,973 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Griffin Asset Management Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Northwest Natural Gas in the second quarter worth $2,394,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 63.30% of the company’s stock.

Northwest Natural Gas Company Profile

Northwest Natural Gas Company (NW Natural) is engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Company’s segments include Local Gas Distribution, Gas Storage and other. The Company maintains operations in Oregon, Washington and California and conducts businesses through NW Natural and its subsidiaries.

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