Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of PPL (NYSE:PPL) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “PPL Corp. is poised to gain from its capital investment plan, which primarily focuses on infrastructure construction projects for generation, transmission and distribution. It has reestablished its hedge levels to shield itself from any near-term decline in the GBP. PPL Corp’s earnings are expected to improve annually by 5-6% in 2017-2020 period, thanks to the contribution from its domestic operations. Shares of PPL Corp. have returned lower than the industry in the last 12 months. PPL Corp.’s operations are also subject to service disruptions in the form of breakdown of equipment and weather, which could have an adverse impact on earnings. The high debt level of the company is a concern amid the rising rates.”

A number of other equities analysts have also recently commented on PPL. SunTrust Banks reissued a buy rating and set a $39.00 price target on shares of PPL in a report on Tuesday. Guggenheim reissued a hold rating and set a $32.00 price target on shares of PPL in a report on Wednesday, January 3rd. Canaccord Genuity reissued a buy rating and set a $48.00 price target on shares of PPL in a report on Thursday, November 30th. KeyCorp restated a hold rating on shares of PPL in a research report on Friday, October 20th. Finally, Macquarie lowered PPL from a neutral rating to an underperform rating and set a $30.00 price objective on the stock. in a research report on Tuesday, December 19th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. PPL currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $38.72.

PPL (PPL) traded up $0.20 during trading on Tuesday, hitting $31.08. The stock had a trading volume of 6,844,223 shares, compared to its average volume of 7,191,678. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.79, a current ratio of 0.56 and a quick ratio of 0.48. PPL has a 12 month low of $30.44 and a 12 month high of $40.20. The firm has a market cap of $21,400.00, a PE ratio of 14.06, a P/E/G ratio of 1.90 and a beta of 0.48.

PPL (NYSE:PPL) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, November 1st. The utilities provider reported $0.56 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.53 by $0.03. PPL had a return on equity of 15.30% and a net margin of 20.60%. The company had revenue of $1.85 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.03 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.63 EPS. PPL’s revenue was down 2.3% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts anticipate that PPL will post 2.18 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 2nd. Investors of record on Friday, December 8th were given a dividend of $0.395 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 7th. This represents a $1.58 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 5.08%. PPL’s dividend payout ratio is currently 71.49%.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Hexavest Inc. grew its position in PPL by 1.6% during the 4th quarter. Hexavest Inc. now owns 1,765,554 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $54,644,000 after acquiring an additional 27,387 shares during the last quarter. QUANTRES ASSET MANAGEMENT Ltd grew its position in PPL by 253.1% during the 4th quarter. QUANTRES ASSET MANAGEMENT Ltd now owns 28,600 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $885,000 after acquiring an additional 20,500 shares during the last quarter. Fulton Bank N.A. grew its position in PPL by 3.0% during the 4th quarter. Fulton Bank N.A. now owns 93,227 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,886,000 after acquiring an additional 2,717 shares during the last quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. grew its position in PPL by 16.5% during the 3rd quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 5,030,604 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $190,912,000 after acquiring an additional 714,250 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC grew its position in shares of PPL by 1.9% in the 3rd quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 1,784,213 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $67,711,000 after buying an additional 33,483 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 71.24% of the company’s stock.

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About PPL

PPL Corporation (PPL) is a utility holding company. Through its subsidiaries, PPL delivers electricity to customers in the United Kingdom, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee; delivers natural gas to customers in Kentucky, and generates electricity from power plants in Kentucky. PPL operates through U.K.

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