Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE:NWN) was downgraded by research analysts at Wells Fargo & Company from a “market perform” rating to an “underperform” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Monday.

Separately, Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Northwest Natural Gas from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $74.00 price target for the company in a research report on Wednesday, September 6th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has assigned a hold rating, two have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. Northwest Natural Gas presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $65.50.

Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE:NWN) opened at $60.55 on Monday. The company has a market cap of $1,867.78, a price-to-earnings ratio of 29.57, a PEG ratio of 6.65 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 $56.53 and a 1 year high of $69.50.

Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE:NWN) last released its quarterly earnings results on Friday, November 3rd. The utilities provider reported ($0.30) EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of ($0.31) by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $88.20 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $91.19 million. Northwest Natural Gas had a net margin of 8.32% and a return on equity of 7.31%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up .6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $1.18 EPS. sell-side analysts anticipate that Northwest Natural Gas will post 2.18 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, Director Martha L. Byorum sold 1,202 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, September 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $64.88, for a total value of $77,985.76. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 1,202 shares in the company, valued at $77,985.76. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 1.48% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of NWN. Bessemer Group Inc. boosted its position in Northwest Natural Gas by 225.2% during the third quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 359,343 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $23,141,000 after buying an additional 248,857 shares during the period. Wells Fargo & Company MN boosted its position in Northwest Natural Gas by 43.3% during the third quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 163,412 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $10,523,000 after buying an additional 49,365 shares during the period. Griffin Asset Management Inc. purchased a new stake in Northwest Natural Gas during the second quarter valued at about $2,394,000. State Street Corp boosted its position in Northwest Natural Gas by 5.1% during the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 736,047 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $44,053,000 after buying an additional 35,852 shares during the period. Finally, First Washington CORP purchased a new stake in Northwest Natural Gas during the third quarter valued at about $1,812,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 64.59% of the company’s stock.

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About Northwest Natural Gas

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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