Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Northwest Natural (NYSE:NWN) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Wednesday morning, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Northwest Natural Holding Company builds and maintains natural gas distribution systems, as well as invests in natural gas pipeline projects through its subsidiaries. It serves residential, commercial and industrial customers primarily in the United States, Canada and Service Territory. Northwest Natural Holding Company, formerly known as NW Natural Gas Company, is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. “

Separately, Maxim Group restated a buy rating and set a $72.00 price objective on shares of Northwest Natural in a report on Thursday, June 6th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $65.75.

NYSE NWN opened at $70.07 on Wednesday. The company has a market capitalization of $2.03 billion, a P/E ratio of 26.95, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 6.57 and a beta of 0.33. Northwest Natural has a 52 week low of $57.20 and a 52 week high of $71.81. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $69.07. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.80, a quick ratio of 0.48 and a current ratio of 0.52.

Northwest Natural (NYSE:NWN) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, May 7th. The utilities provider reported $1.73 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.45 by $0.28. The firm had revenue of $285.30 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $250.06 million. Northwest Natural had a return on equity of 9.86% and a net margin of 9.10%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 8.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $1.39 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts expect that Northwest Natural will post 2.37 EPS for the current year.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in NWN. 6 Meridian increased its stake in Northwest Natural by 1.8% in the 2nd quarter. 6 Meridian now owns 11,508 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $800,000 after acquiring an additional 198 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC increased its stake in Northwest Natural by 757.4% in the 1st quarter. FMR LLC now owns 5,273 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $346,000 after acquiring an additional 4,658 shares during the last quarter. Marshall Wace North America L.P. bought a new position in Northwest Natural in the 1st quarter worth about $126,000. NumerixS Investment Technologies Inc increased its stake in Northwest Natural by 250.0% in the 1st quarter. NumerixS Investment Technologies Inc now owns 1,400 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $92,000 after acquiring an additional 1,000 shares during the last quarter. Finally, First Trust Advisors LP increased its stake in Northwest Natural by 12.6% in the 1st quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 438,376 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $28,771,000 after acquiring an additional 49,098 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 69.03% of the company’s stock.

Northwest Natural Company Profile

Northwest Natural Holding Company, through its subsidiary, Northwest Natural Gas Company, provides regulated natural gas distribution services to residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. It is also involved in the gas storage activities, water businesses, and other investments and activities.

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