Empire District Electric Co. (NYSE:EDE) saw strong trading volume on Tuesday . 500,095 shares changed hands during mid-day trading, an increase of 159% from the previous session’s volume of 192,833 shares.The stock last traded at $34.06 and had previously closed at $34.13.

Several equities analysts have recently issued reports on the company. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “market perform” rating and issued a $21.00 price target on shares of Empire District Electric in a research report on Monday. Barclays PLC reiterated an “underweight” rating and issued a $18.00 price objective (down from $19.00) on shares of Empire District Electric in a report on Monday. RBC Capital Markets reiterated a “sector perform” rating and issued a $22.00 price objective on shares of Empire District Electric in a report on Friday, September 16th. TD Securities reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $20.00 price objective on shares of Empire District Electric in a report on Thursday, September 15th. Finally, Scotiabank reiterated a “sector perform” rating and issued a $23.00 price objective on shares of Empire District Electric in a report on Wednesday, September 14th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $24.50.

The company has a market capitalization of $1.50 billion, a P/E ratio of 25.63 and a beta of 0.20. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $33.88 and its 200 day moving average price is $33.65.

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Empire District Electric (NYSE:EDE) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 28th. The company reported $0.27 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.23 by $0.04. Empire District Electric had a return on equity of 7.90% and a net margin of 11.47%. Analysts predict that Empire District Electric Co. will post $1.47 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 15th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 1st were paid a dividend of $0.26 per share. This represents a $1.04 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.05%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, August 30th. Empire District Electric’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 77.61%.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of EDE. Pioneer Investment Management Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Empire District Electric during the fourth quarter worth $3,304,000. Norges Bank acquired a new stake in Empire District Electric during the fourth quarter worth approximately $10,415,000. Virginia Retirement System acquired a new stake in Empire District Electric during the first quarter worth approximately $516,000. BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in Empire District Electric by 29.4% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 3,260 shares of the company’s stock worth $107,000 after buying an additional 741 shares during the period. Finally, BlackRock Group LTD boosted its stake in Empire District Electric by 13.9% in the first quarter. BlackRock Group LTD now owns 46,677 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,542,000 after buying an additional 5,698 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 64.00% of the company’s stock.

About Empire District Electric

The Empire District Electric Company is a regulated utility company. The Company is engaged in the generation, purchase, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity. It provides services with in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. The Company operates its businesses in three segments: electric, gas and other.

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