The Laclede Group Inc. (NYSE:SR) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Wednesday. The brokerage currently has a $67.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price objective points to a potential upside of 11.72% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Spire Inc. is a public utility company which is engaged in the purchase, retail distribution, sale and marketing of natural gas. Its operating segment consists of Gas Utility and Gas Marketing. Gas Utility segment includes the regulated operations of Laclede Gas and Alabama Gas Corporation. Gas Marketing segment is engaged in the marketing of natural gas and related activities on a non-regulated basis. Spire Inc, formerly known as The Laclede Group Inc., is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. “

Several other analysts also recently weighed in on SR. TheStreet upgraded The Laclede Group from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, June 28th. Ladenburg Thalmann started coverage on The Laclede Group in a report on Friday, August 19th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $69.00 price objective for the company. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co. downgraded The Laclede Group from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a report on Tuesday, September 6th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating, one has issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $64.60.

Analyst Recommendations for The Laclede Group (NYSE:SR)

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The Laclede Group (NYSE:SR) opened at 59.97 on Wednesday. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $64.06 and its 200-day moving average is $66.06. The Laclede Group has a 12 month low of $54.33 and a 12 month high of $71.21. The stock has a market capitalization of $2.74 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.82 and a beta of 0.32.

The Laclede Group (NYSE:SR) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 3rd. The company reported $0.33 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.27 by $0.06. The firm earned $249.30 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $290.50 million. The Laclede Group had a return on equity of 8.84% and a net margin of 9.55%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 9.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.25 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts expect that The Laclede Group will post $3.42 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, October 4th. Shareholders of record on Monday, September 12th were paid a $0.49 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, September 8th. This represents a $1.96 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.27%. The Laclede Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 61.25%.

The Laclede Group Company Profile

Spire Inc, formerly The Laclede Group, Inc is a public utility holding company for Laclede Gas Company (Laclede Gas or the Missouri Utilities). It operates through two segments: Gas Utility and Gas Marketing. The Gas Utility segment includes the regulated operations of Laclede Gas and Alabama Gas Corporation (Alagasco or the Alabama Utility) (collectively, the Utilities).

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