The Laclede Group Inc. (NYSE:SR) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday. The firm currently has a $67.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price objective would indicate a potential upside of 11.72% from the stock’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. “

SR has been the topic of several other research reports. TheStreet upgraded The Laclede Group from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, June 28th. Ladenburg Thalmann initiated coverage on The Laclede Group in a research report on Friday, August 19th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $69.00 price objective for the company. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co. cut The Laclede Group from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 6th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating, one has issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The Laclede Group currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target 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 has a market capitalization of $2.74 billion, a PE ratio of 18.82 and a beta of 0.32. The Laclede Group has a 52-week low of $54.33 and a 52-week high of $71.21. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $64.06 and its 200-day moving average is $66.06.

The Laclede Group (NYSE:SR) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 3rd. The company reported $0.33 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.27 by $0.06. The Laclede Group had a return on equity of 8.84% and a net margin of 9.55%. The company had revenue of $249.30 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $290.50 million. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.25 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 9.4% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts expect that The Laclede Group will post $3.42 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, October 4th. Investors of record on Monday, September 12th were given 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 currently 61.25%.

About The Laclede Group

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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