Wells Fargo & Company upgraded shares of Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE:WR) from a market perform rating to an outperform rating in a report issued on Monday morning, Marketbeat Ratings reports. They currently have $55.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock.

A number of other equities research analysts have also issued reports on the stock. Evercore ISI upgraded shares of Westar Energy from an in-line rating to an outperform rating and increased their target price for the stock from $49.00 to $53.00 in a report on Tuesday, July 11th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Westar Energy from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Friday, July 7th. J P Morgan Chase & Co upgraded shares of Westar Energy from a neutral rating to an overweight rating and increased their target price for the stock from $32.00 to $53.00 in a report on Tuesday, July 11th. BidaskClub lowered shares of Westar Energy from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Wednesday, July 19th. Finally, Wolfe Research started coverage on shares of Westar Energy in a report on Wednesday, July 26th. They set an outperform rating on the stock. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $53.67.

Westar Energy (NYSE WR) opened at 50.69 on Monday. The company has a 50-day moving average of $50.75 and a 200-day moving average of $52.05. The company has a market cap of $7.20 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.30 and a beta of 0.39. Westar Energy has a 52 week low of $49.20 and a 52 week high of $57.50.

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, August 8th. The utilities provider reported $0.50 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.56 by ($0.06). The business had revenue of $609.32 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $633.96 million. Westar Energy had a return on equity of 8.87% and a net margin of 13.33%. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.51 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts predict that Westar Energy will post $2.50 EPS for the current year.

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The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, October 2nd. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 8th were issued a dividend of $0.40 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, September 7th. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.16%. Westar Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 67.23%.

In other news, SVP Bruce A. Akin sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.50, for a total value of $257,500.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, CFO Anthony D. Somma sold 2,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.07, for a total transaction of $127,675.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 31,500 shares of company stock worth $1,611,715. 0.70% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd raised its holdings in shares of Westar Energy by 18.3% in the 2nd quarter. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd now owns 5,089 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $269,000 after purchasing an additional 789 shares in the last quarter. WINTON GROUP Ltd acquired a new stake in shares of Westar Energy in the 2nd quarter valued at $1,241,000. GWM Advisors LLC raised its holdings in shares of Westar Energy by 13.4% in the 2nd quarter. GWM Advisors LLC now owns 20,430 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,030,000 after purchasing an additional 2,414 shares in the last quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Westar Energy by 1.5% in the 2nd quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. now owns 42,507 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,254,000 after purchasing an additional 634 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Westar Energy by 19.6% in the 2nd quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. now owns 17,833 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $945,000 after purchasing an additional 2,923 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 73.65% of the company’s stock.

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.

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