Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Spire (NYSE:SR) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Spire Inc. is a public utility company which is engaged in the purchase, retail distribution, sale and marketing of natural gas. Its operating segment consists of Gas Utility and Gas Marketing. Gas Utility segment includes the regulated operations of Laclede Gas and Alabama Gas Corporation. Gas Marketing segment is engaged in the marketing of natural gas and related activities on a non-regulated basis. Spire Inc, formerly known as The Laclede Group Inc., is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. “

Other analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. ValuEngine lowered shares of Spire from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, December 1st. Stifel Nicolaus lifted their price objective on shares of Spire from $71.00 to $75.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, November 16th. Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $73.00 price objective on shares of Spire in a research report on Monday, October 16th. Morgan Stanley lifted their price objective on shares of Spire from $75.00 to $77.00 and gave the stock an underweight rating in a research report on Wednesday, December 13th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted their price objective on shares of Spire from $71.00 to $75.00 and gave the stock an underweight rating in a research report on Thursday, October 12th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and five have given a hold rating to the company. The company has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $75.33.

Spire (NYSE:SR) traded down $0.30 on Friday, hitting $71.70. 229,818 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 159,445. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.00, a current ratio of 0.66 and a quick ratio of 0.46. Spire has a one year low of $62.33 and a one year high of $82.85. The company has a market capitalization of $3,477.24, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.37, a P/E/G ratio of 3.87 and a beta of 0.30.

Spire (NYSE:SR) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, November 15th. The utilities provider reported ($0.22) earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of ($0.26) by $0.04. Spire had a net margin of 9.28% and a return on equity of 8.71%. The company had revenue of $258.70 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $271.65 million. During the same period last year, the firm earned ($0.32) earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was down 7.4% on a year-over-year basis. analysts predict that Spire will post 3.72 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, January 3rd. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 11th were paid a $0.5625 dividend. This is an increase from Spire’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.53. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, December 8th. This represents a $2.25 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.14%. Spire’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 63.92%.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. increased its stake in shares of Spire by 1.7% in the second quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 4,078 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $284,000 after purchasing an additional 69 shares in the last quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank increased its stake in shares of Spire by 8.6% in the second quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 1,825 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $127,000 after purchasing an additional 144 shares in the last quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Trust & Banking Corp increased its stake in shares of Spire by 3.5% in the second quarter. Mitsubishi UFJ Trust & Banking Corp now owns 5,709 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $398,000 after purchasing an additional 193 shares in the last quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio increased its stake in shares of Spire by 11.2% in the second quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 2,070 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $144,000 after purchasing an additional 209 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. increased its stake in shares of Spire by 7.4% in the second quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. now owns 4,147 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $289,000 after purchasing an additional 284 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 79.79% of the company’s stock.

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Spire Company Profile

Spire Inc, formerly The Laclede Group, Inc, is engaged to transform its business and pursue growth by growing its gas utility business through prudent investment in infrastructure upgrades and organic growth initiatives; acquire and integrate gas utilities; modernize its gas assets, and invest in innovation.

Analyst Recommendations for Spire (NYSE:SR)

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