Unitil Corp. (NYSE:UTL) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Unitil Corporation is a registered public utility holding company and the parent company of the Unitil System. “

Shares of Unitil Corp. (NYSE:UTL) opened at 39.66 on Thursday. Unitil Corp. has a 52 week low of $33.75 and a 52 week high of $45.16. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $40.07 and a 200-day moving average price of $41.06. The firm has a market cap of $557.30 million, a PE ratio of 22.71 and a beta of 0.19.

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Unitil Corp. (NYSE:UTL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 21st. The company reported $0.18 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.13 by $0.05. Unitil Corp. had a return on equity of 8.58% and a net margin of 6.47%. The firm earned $73 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $79.90 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.12 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts predict that Unitil Corp. will post $1.81 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, August 26th. Shareholders of record on Friday, August 12th were given a dividend of $0.355 per share. This represents a $1.42 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.58%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, August 10th. Unitil Corp.’s payout ratio is 81.14%.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in Unitil Corp. by 292.7% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 4,622 shares of the company’s stock worth $197,000 after buying an additional 3,445 shares during the last quarter. Barclays PLC raised its position in Unitil Corp. by 781.3% in the second quarter. Barclays PLC now owns 4,715 shares of the company’s stock worth $201,000 after buying an additional 4,180 shares during the last quarter. Mesirow Financial Investment Management US Value Equity acquired a new position in Unitil Corp. during the first quarter worth approximately $233,000. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. raised its position in Unitil Corp. by 3.4% in the second quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 6,265 shares of the company’s stock worth $267,000 after buying an additional 204 shares during the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Advisors LLC raised its position in Unitil Corp. by 3.3% in the second quarter. BlackRock Advisors LLC now owns 7,146 shares of the company’s stock worth $305,000 after buying an additional 227 shares during the last quarter. 58.09% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Unitil Corp.

Unitil Corporation (Unitil) is a public utility holding company. The Company is engaged in the local distribution of electricity and natural gas to customers throughout its service territories in the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine. It operates through three segments: utility gas operations, utility electric operations and non-regulated.

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