Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE:WR) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Saturday morning.

According to Zacks, “Westar Energy, Inc. is Kansas’ largest electric utility. Westar has 7,200 MW of electric generation capacity fueled by coal, uranium, natural gas, wind and landfill gas. They are a leader in electric transmission in Kansas. Their innovative customer service programs include mobile-enabled customer care, digital meters and paving the way for electric vehicle adoption. “

Other research analysts have also issued reports about the company. BidaskClub raised Westar Energy from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Saturday, August 5th. Wolfe Research assumed coverage on Westar Energy in a research report on Wednesday, July 26th. They issued an outperform rating on the stock. J P Morgan Chase & Co raised Westar Energy from a neutral rating to an overweight rating and raised their price objective for the company from $32.00 to $53.00 in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. Finally, Evercore ISI raised Westar Energy from an in-line rating to an outperform rating and raised their price objective for the company from $49.00 to $53.00 in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $55.33.

Shares of Westar Energy (WR) opened at 50.12 on Friday. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $51.12 and a 200 day moving average price of $52.40. The stock has a market cap of $7.12 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.06 and a beta of 0.41. Westar Energy has a 12-month low of $49.21 and a 12-month high of $57.50.

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, August 8th. The utilities provider reported $0.50 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.56 by ($0.06). Westar Energy had a net margin of 13.33% and a return on equity of 8.87%. The firm had revenue of $609.32 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $633.96 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.51 EPS. Analysts anticipate that Westar Energy will post $2.50 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 2nd. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 8th will be given a $0.40 dividend. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.22%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 7th. Westar Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 67.23%.

In other news, CFO Anthony D. Somma sold 2,500 shares of Westar Energy stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.07, for a total transaction of $127,675.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, VP Larry D. Irick sold 10,000 shares of Westar Energy stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.17, for a total value of $511,700.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 31,500 shares of company stock worth $1,611,715 over the last three months. 0.70% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. D.A. Davidson & CO. increased its position in shares of Westar Energy by 6.6% during the second quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 3,240 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $171,000 after acquiring an additional 202 shares during the last quarter. V Wealth Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Westar Energy during the second quarter worth about $187,000. MAI Capital Management purchased a new stake in shares of Westar Energy during the first quarter worth about $218,000. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd purchased a new stake in shares of Westar Energy during the first quarter worth about $233,000. Finally, Sii Investments Inc. WI increased its position in shares of Westar Energy by 4.9% during the first quarter. Sii Investments Inc. WI now owns 4,495 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $242,000 after acquiring an additional 211 shares during the last quarter. 73.65% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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