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Shares of Atmos Energy (NYSE:ATO) were the target of a large growth in short interest in the month of April. As of April 30th, there was short interest totalling 1,639,656 shares, a growth of 103.5% from the April 15th total of 805,569 shares, American Banking and Market News reports. Based on an average daily volume of 1,018,507 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 1.6 days. Currently, 1.7% of the company’s shares are sold short.

In other Atmos Energy news, SVP Louis Gregory unloaded 3,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.03, for a total value of $150,090.00. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 58,447 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,924,103. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link.

ATO has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Analysts at Barclays raised their price target on shares of Atmos Energy from $49.00 to $50.00 in a research note on Monday, May 19th. They now have an “equal weight” rating on the stock. Separately, analysts at Hilliard Lyons downgraded shares of Atmos Energy from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Friday, May 9th. Finally, analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. initiated coverage on shares of Atmos Energy in a research note on Monday, April 21st. They set a “neutral” rating and a $52.00 price target on the stock. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $50.30.

Shares of Atmos Energy (NYSE:ATO) opened at 50.33 on Monday. Atmos Energy has a 52-week low of $38.00 and a 52-week high of $53.02. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $50.10 and its 200-day moving average is $46.80. The company has a market cap of $5.042 billion and a P/E ratio of 17.63.

Atmos Energy (NYSE:ATO) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, May 7th. The company reported $1.38 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $1.25 by $0.13. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.27 earnings per share. Analysts expect that Atmos Energy will post $2.81 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which is scheduled for Monday, June 9th. Investors of record on Tuesday, May 27th will be given a dividend of $0.37 per share. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.94%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, May 22nd.

Atmos Energy Corporation (NYSE:ATO) is engaged primarily in the regulated natural gas distribution and transmission and storage businesses as well as other nonregulated natural gas businesses.

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