Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Williams Companies, Inc. (The) (NYSE:WMB) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “Well positioned to take advantage of the nation's natural gas supply growth, Williams Companies' large-scale value-creating projects position it for strong returns even in a low commodity price environment. Additionally, Williams is increasing its quarterly dividend by 50% and has announced its plans to increase its stake in the Williams Partners subsidiary to 72%. This is expected to position the company for long-term, sustainable growth as well as solidify investment-grade credit ratings of its subsidiary. However, we believe that the termination of the Energy Transfer merger deal is a big blow to the company that will negatively affect its shareholders. Williams’ high debt levels have also been a concern. Considering these factors, we see limited upside from current levels and take a cautious stance on WMB stock.”

A number of other equities research analysts have also issued reports on the stock. Scotiabank set a $30.00 price target on shares of Williams Companies, Inc. (The) and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Saturday, July 22nd. Barclays PLC upgraded shares of Williams Companies, Inc. (The) from an equal weight rating to an overweight rating and boosted their price target for the company from $33.00 to $36.00 in a report on Tuesday, July 18th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Williams Companies, Inc. (The) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Thursday, July 6th. Jefferies Group LLC set a $34.00 price target on shares of Williams Companies, Inc. (The) and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Friday, June 16th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets set a $32.00 price target on shares of Williams Companies, Inc. (The) and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Thursday, June 15th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, fourteen have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $33.07.

Shares of Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE:WMB) opened at 31.99 on Thursday. Williams Companies, Inc. has a 52-week low of $22.39 and a 52-week high of $32.69. The firm has a market capitalization of $26.43 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 2132.67 and a beta of 1.38. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $30.19 and a 200 day moving average of $29.51.

Williams Companies, Inc. (The) (NYSE:WMB) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, May 3rd. The pipeline company reported $0.14 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.20 by $0.06. Williams Companies, Inc. (The) had a net margin of 0.18% and a return on equity of 3.74%. The firm had revenue of $1.99 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.98 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.03 EPS. On average, analysts predict that Williams Companies, Inc. will post $1.02 EPS for the current fiscal year.

COPYRIGHT VIOLATION WARNING: “Williams Companies, Inc. (The) (NYSE:WMB) Downgraded to Hold at Zacks Investment Research” was published by Watch List News and is owned by of Watch List News. If you are reading this story on another site, it was illegally copied and republished in violation of U.S. & international trademark and copyright legislation. The correct version of this story can be viewed at https://www.watchlistnews.com/williams-companies-inc-the-nysewmb-downgraded-to-hold-at-zacks-investment-research/1463386.html.

In other Williams Companies, Inc. (The) news, CEO Alan S. Armstrong bought 15,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, June 15th. The stock was bought at an average cost of $28.60 per share, with a total value of $429,000.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 345,527 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $9,882,072.20. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, insider Robyn L. Ewing sold 81,561 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, May 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $31.14, for a total transaction of $2,539,809.54. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 47,003 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,463,673.42. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have purchased 38,750 shares of company stock worth $1,107,110 and have sold 92,561 shares worth $2,876,240. Insiders own 0.50% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of WMB. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Williams Companies, Inc. (The) by 21.7% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 61,390,821 shares of the pipeline company’s stock valued at $1,816,554,000 after buying an additional 10,933,027 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Williams Companies, Inc. (The) by 2,942.5% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 59,022,046 shares of the pipeline company’s stock valued at $1,746,463,000 after buying an additional 57,082,116 shares during the period. State Street Corp boosted its stake in shares of Williams Companies, Inc. (The) by 9.2% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 42,289,708 shares of the pipeline company’s stock valued at $1,251,350,000 after buying an additional 3,565,627 shares during the period. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its stake in shares of Williams Companies, Inc. (The) by 273.9% in the first quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 10,125,511 shares of the pipeline company’s stock valued at $299,614,000 after buying an additional 7,417,774 shares during the period. Finally, Chickasaw Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Williams Companies, Inc. (The) by 0.4% in the second quarter. Chickasaw Capital Management LLC now owns 9,303,863 shares of the pipeline company’s stock valued at $281,721,000 after buying an additional 38,868 shares during the period. 84.51% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Williams Companies, Inc. (The) Company Profile

The Williams Companies, Inc is an energy infrastructure company. The Company is focused on connecting North America’s hydrocarbon resource plays to markets for natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGL), and olefins. As of December 31, 2016, its interstate gas pipelines, midstream and olefins production interests were held through its investment in Williams Partners L.P.

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Williams Companies, Inc. (The) (WMB)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for Williams Companies, Inc. (The) (NYSE:WMB)

Receive News & Ratings for Williams Companies Inc. (The) Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Williams Companies Inc. (The) and related companies with Analyst Ratings Network's FREE daily email newsletter.