Avista Corp. (NYSE:AVA) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Avista Corp. is a diversified energy company with utility and subsidiary operations located throughout North America. Avista Corp. also operates Avista Capital, which owns all the company’s non-regulated energy and non-energy businesses. Avista Capital companies include Avista Energy, Avista Energy Canada, Ltd., Avista Power, Avista Advantage, Avista Labs, Avista Fiber, Avista Communiations, Avista Development and Pentzer Corporation. (PRESS RELEASE) “

Other equities analysts have also recently issued reports about the company. Williams Capital boosted their target price on Avista Corp. from $38.00 to $40.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, September 22nd. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $42.00 price objective on shares of Avista Corp. in a report on Wednesday, June 22nd.

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Shares of Avista Corp. (NYSE:AVA) traded down 1.56% during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $39.11. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 167,719 shares. Avista Corp. has a 12-month low of $32.61 and a 12-month high of $45.22. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $41.39 and its 200 day moving average price is $41.63. The company has a market capitalization of $2.49 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.01 and a beta of 0.40.

Avista Corp. (NYSE:AVA) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, August 3rd. The company reported $0.43 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.45 by $0.02. Avista Corp. had a return on equity of 8.32% and a net margin of 9.38%. The business had revenue of $234.79 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $316.24 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.40 earnings per share. Avista Corp.’s quarterly revenue was down 5.5% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Avista Corp. will post $2.08 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 15th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, September 1st were issued a $0.3425 dividend. This represents a $1.37 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.50%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, August 30th. Avista Corp.’s payout ratio is currently 64.02%.

In related news, SVP Jason R. Thackston sold 950 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, September 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $40.90, for a total transaction of $38,855.00. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 17,232 shares in the company, valued at approximately $704,788.80. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, insider Marian M. Durkin sold 3,500 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $42.56, for a total value of $148,960.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 67,245 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,861,947.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.07% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Advisor Group Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Avista Corp. during the second quarter valued at $107,000. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC boosted its stake in shares of Avista Corp. by 24,520.0% in the second quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC now owns 2,462 shares of the company’s stock valued at $111,000 after buying an additional 2,452 shares in the last quarter. Pinkerton Retirement Specialists LLC bought a new stake in shares of Avista Corp. during the second quarter valued at $117,000. Washington Trust Bank boosted its stake in shares of Avista Corp. by 1.0% in the third quarter. Washington Trust Bank now owns 4,012 shares of the company’s stock valued at $168,000 after buying an additional 38 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bank of Montreal Can bought a new stake in shares of Avista Corp. during the second quarter valued at $181,000. Institutional investors own 68.07% of the company’s stock.

About Avista Corp.

Avista Corporation is an electric and natural gas utility with certain other business ventures. The Company operates through two business segments: Avista Utilities, and Alaska Electric Light and Power Company (AEL&P). Avista Utilities segment generates, transmits and distributes electricity, and distributes natural gas serving electric and natural gas customers in eastern Washington and northern Idaho and natural gas customers in parts of Oregon.

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