Southwest Gas Corp. (NYSE:SWX) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “SOUTHWEST GAS CORP. is principally engaged in the business of purchasing, transporting, and distributing natural gas in portions of Arizona, Nevada, and California. The Company also engaged in financial services activities, through PriMerit Bank, Federal Savings Bank (PriMerit or the Bank), a wholly owned subsidiary. “

A number of other research analysts have also commented on SWX. Argus lowered shares of Southwest Gas Corp. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 31st. Jefferies Group lowered shares of Southwest Gas Corp. from a “hold” rating to an “underperform” rating and set a $64.00 price objective for the company. in a research report on Monday, July 25th. Finally, Citigroup Inc. upped their price objective on shares of Southwest Gas Corp. from $62.00 to $79.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 27th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and four have issued a hold rating to the stock. Southwest Gas Corp. presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $71.25.

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Southwest Gas Corp. (NYSE:SWX) opened at 70.17 on Tuesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $3.33 billion, a P/E ratio of 22.92 and a beta of 0.52. Southwest Gas Corp. has a 52 week low of $50.53 and a 52 week high of $79.58. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $72.01 and a 200-day moving average price of $70.44.

Southwest Gas Corp. (NYSE:SWX) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Monday, August 8th. The company reported $0.19 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.18 by $0.01. The business earned $547.70 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $559.21 million. Southwest Gas Corp. had a net margin of 5.90% and a return on equity of 9.07%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.13 earnings per share. Equities analysts forecast that Southwest Gas Corp. will post $3.17 EPS for the current year.

In related news, SVP Eric Debonis sold 600 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.99, for a total value of $43,794.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 19,694 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,437,465.06. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. 1.34% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. BlackRock Group LTD raised its position in Southwest Gas Corp. by 7.6% in the first quarter. BlackRock Group LTD now owns 100,078 shares of the company’s stock valued at $6,590,000 after buying an additional 7,080 shares during the period. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. raised its position in Southwest Gas Corp. by 4.0% in the first quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 1,233,773 shares of the company’s stock valued at $81,244,000 after buying an additional 47,840 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in Southwest Gas Corp. by 13.6% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 44,329 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,920,000 after buying an additional 5,304 shares during the period. Calvert Investment Management Inc. raised its position in Southwest Gas Corp. by 2.6% in the second quarter. Calvert Investment Management Inc. now owns 10,601 shares of the company’s stock valued at $834,000 after buying an additional 271 shares during the period. Finally, Prudential Financial Inc. raised its position in Southwest Gas Corp. by 8.2% in the first quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 126,004 shares of the company’s stock valued at $8,298,000 after buying an additional 9,582 shares during the period. 80.73% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Southwest Gas Corp.

Southwest Gas Corporation is engaged in the business of purchasing, distributing and transporting natural gas in Arizona, Nevada and California. The Company operates through two segments: natural gas operations and construction services, which includes the operations of the Company’s subsidiary, Centuri Construction Group, Inc, (Centuri).

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