NiSource Inc. (NYSE:NI) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “NiSource Inc.’s consistent investments to further strengthen its infrastructure and in its regulated operations will continue to drive its results. NiSource’s regulated business model provides visibility to its forward earnings. The company's strong liquidity position and improving credit rating will allow it to obtain additional funds at cheaper costs. However, despite investing in upgrade programs, NiSource faces the risk of disruption in operation from its ageing infrastructure. Further, delays in completion of projects increase capital costs and stretch the time limit of NiSource’s expected benefit from these projects.”

NI has been the topic of a number of other reports. Evercore ISI downgraded shares of NiSource from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $23.75 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Wednesday, July 6th. KeyCorp reiterated an “outperform” rating and set a $27.00 price objective (up from $25.50) on shares of NiSource in a research note on Tuesday, July 5th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $26.00 price objective on shares of NiSource in a research note on Wednesday, August 3rd. Citigroup Inc. increased their price objective on shares of NiSource from $18.08 to $27.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 27th. Finally, Jefferies Group downgraded shares of NiSource from a “hold” rating to an “underperform” rating and set a $22.00 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Monday, July 25th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $24.34.

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Shares of NiSource (NYSE:NI) opened at 25.37 on Thursday. The stock has a market cap of $8.17 billion, a P/E ratio of 30.86 and a beta of 0.25. NiSource has a 52-week low of $17.30 and a 52-week high of $26.94. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $24.45 and its 200 day moving average price is $24.30.

NiSource (NYSE:NI) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, August 2nd. The company reported $0.08 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.07 by $0.01. NiSource had a net margin of 6.18% and a return on equity of 8.75%. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.18 EPS. On average, analysts expect that NiSource will post $1.07 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, November 18th. Shareholders of record on Monday, October 31st will be issued a $0.165 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, October 27th. This represents a $0.66 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.60%. NiSource’s dividend payout ratio is currently 80.49%.

In other NiSource news, VP Teresa M. Smith sold 1,200 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $23.75, for a total value of $28,500.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 37,883 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $899,721.25. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. 0.32% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. boosted its position in NiSource by 0.5% in the second quarter. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. now owns 4,671 shares of the company’s stock worth $124,000 after buying an additional 22 shares in the last quarter. Lynch & Associates IN boosted its position in NiSource by 0.3% in the second quarter. Lynch & Associates IN now owns 10,228 shares of the company’s stock worth $271,000 after buying an additional 31 shares in the last quarter. Northwestern Mutual Investment Management Company LLC boosted its position in NiSource by 0.5% in the second quarter. Northwestern Mutual Investment Management Company LLC now owns 12,266 shares of the company’s stock worth $325,000 after buying an additional 58 shares in the last quarter. Sii Investments Inc. WI boosted its position in NiSource by 0.9% in the first quarter. Sii Investments Inc. WI now owns 11,639 shares of the company’s stock worth $273,000 after buying an additional 99 shares in the last quarter. Finally, MUFG Americas Holdings Corp boosted its position in NiSource by 2.5% in the second quarter. MUFG Americas Holdings Corp now owns 4,149 shares of the company’s stock worth $110,000 after buying an additional 100 shares in the last quarter. 82.28% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

NiSource Company Profile

NiSource Inc is an energy holding company. The Company is engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Company operates through two business segments: Gas Distribution Operations and Electric Operations. The Gas Distribution Operations segment provides natural gas service and transportation for residential, commercial and industrial customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Indiana and Massachusetts.

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