Westar Energy Inc (NYSE:WR) has earned an average recommendation of “Buy” from the seven brokerages that are currently covering the firm, Marketbeat.com reports. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a hold recommendation and five have given a buy recommendation to the company. The average 12 month price target among brokerages that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $55.75.

A number of research firms recently weighed in on WR. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Westar Energy from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 28th. Bank of America began coverage on Westar Energy in a research note on Tuesday, October 24th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $57.00 price target on the stock. J P Morgan Chase & Co set a $58.00 price target on Westar Energy and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 12th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company upgraded Westar Energy from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $55.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Monday, October 2nd.

Shares of Westar Energy (NYSE WR) opened at $55.08 on Friday. Westar Energy has a 12 month low of $49.20 and a 12 month high of $57.50. The stock has a market capitalization of $7,813.76, a P/E ratio of 22.82, a PEG ratio of 6.62 and a beta of 0.42. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.97, a quick ratio of 0.65 and a current ratio of 1.07.

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 31st. The utilities provider reported $1.11 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.20 by ($0.09). Westar Energy had a return on equity of 8.94% and a net margin of 13.32%. The company had revenue of $794.33 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $773.96 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.09 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.9% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts forecast that Westar Energy will post 2.45 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 2nd. Investors of record on Friday, December 8th will be paid a $0.40 dividend. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.90%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 7th. Westar Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 66.39%.

In other Westar Energy news, VP Larry D. Irick sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, November 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.38, for a total transaction of $271,900.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Mark A. Ruelle sold 37,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, November 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.35, for a total value of $2,010,950.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 55,100 shares of company stock worth $2,991,312. 0.70% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of WR. American Century Companies Inc. increased its position in Westar Energy by 365.2% during the 2nd quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 4,057,368 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $215,122,000 after buying an additional 3,185,194 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in Westar Energy by 19.3% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 16,587,206 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $879,454,000 after buying an additional 2,679,597 shares during the period. Ameriprise Financial Inc. increased its position in Westar Energy by 270.4% during the 2nd quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 1,681,339 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $89,148,000 after buying an additional 1,227,431 shares during the period. Janus Henderson Group PLC increased its position in Westar Energy by 8,831.1% during the 2nd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 1,169,889 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $62,028,000 after buying an additional 1,156,790 shares during the period. Finally, Balyasny Asset Management LLC bought a new position in Westar Energy during the 2nd quarter worth $27,810,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.66% of the company’s stock.

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Westar Energy Company Profile

Westar Energy, Inc is an electric utility. The Company provides electric generation, transmission and distribution services. The Company provides these services in central and northeastern Kansas, including the cities of Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan, Salina and Hutchinson. Its subsidiary, Kansas Gas and Electric Company (KGE), provides these services in south-central and southeastern Kansas, including the city of Wichita.

Analyst Recommendations for Westar Energy (NYSE:WR)

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