Southwest Gas Corp. (NYSE:SWX) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released 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. “

Several other equities analysts have also commented on the stock. Argus lowered shares of Southwest Gas Corp. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a 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 on the stock. in a 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 stock a “neutral” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 27th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and four have given a hold rating to the company. Southwest Gas Corp. presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $71.25.

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Shares of Southwest Gas Corp. (NYSE:SWX) opened at 70.17 on Tuesday. 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 of $72.01 and a 200 day moving average of $70.44. 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. (NYSE:SWX) last posted its earnings results on Monday, August 8th. The company reported $0.19 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.18 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $547.70 million for 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%. Southwest Gas Corp.’s revenue was up 1.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.13 EPS. On average, equities research analysts expect that Southwest Gas Corp. will post $3.17 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, SVP Eric Debonis sold 600 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.99, for a total transaction of $43,794.00. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 19,694 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,437,465.06. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Corporate insiders own 1.34% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Macquarie Group Ltd. increased its stake in shares of Southwest Gas Corp. by 34.8% in the second quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 1,290,116 shares of the company’s stock valued at $101,545,000 after buying an additional 333,337 shares during the last quarter. Northwestern Mutual Investment Management Company LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Southwest Gas Corp. during the second quarter valued at $645,000. Mason Street Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Southwest Gas Corp. during the second quarter valued at $1,725,000. Calvert Investment Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of Southwest Gas Corp. by 784.3% in the second quarter. Calvert Investment Management Inc. now owns 91,350 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,190,000 after buying an additional 81,020 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of Southwest Gas Corp. by 15.5% in the second quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 379,809 shares of the company’s stock valued at $29,895,000 after buying an additional 51,098 shares during the last quarter. 80.73% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Southwest Gas Corp. Company Profile

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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