South Jersey Industries Inc (NYSE:SJI) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “South Jersey Inds Inc. is engaged in the business of operating, through subsidiaries, various business enterprises. The company’s most significant subsidiary is South Jersey Gas Company (SJG). SJG is a public utility company engaged in the purchase, transmission and sale of natural gas for residential, commercial and industrial use. SJG also makes off-system sales of natural gas on a wholesale basis to various customers on the interstate pipeline system and transports natural gas. “

Separately, Hilliard Lyons raised shares of South Jersey Industries from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $40.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, March 15th. Seven investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the stock. South Jersey Industries has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $35.17.

Analyst Recommendations for South Jersey Industries (NYSE:SJI)

South Jersey Industries (NYSE:SJI) traded up 0.45% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $35.37. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 325,098 shares. The stock has a market capitalization of $2.81 billion, a P/E ratio of 31.38 and a beta of 0.66. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $36.73 and its 200 day moving average price is $33.80. South Jersey Industries has a 1-year low of $27.47 and a 1-year high of $38.40.

South Jersey Industries (NYSE:SJI) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, May 9th. The utilities provider reported $0.72 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.81 by $0.09. South Jersey Industries had a return on equity of 9.65% and a net margin of 12.83%. The company had revenue of $425.83 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $329.50 million. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.80 EPS. Analysts expect that South Jersey Industries will post $1.23 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, July 5th. Stockholders of record on Friday, June 9th will be given a dividend of $0.2725 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, June 7th. This represents a $1.09 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.08%. South Jersey Industries’s payout ratio is 62.64%.

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In other news, insider Gina Marie Merritt-Epps sold 2,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, April 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $35.55, for a total transaction of $71,100.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 3,622 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $128,762.10. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Company insiders own 0.74% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in SJI. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in South Jersey Industries by 46,816.5% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 9,843,088 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $350,905,000 after buying an additional 9,822,108 shares during the period. Norges Bank acquired a new stake in South Jersey Industries during the fourth quarter valued at $18,138,000. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in South Jersey Industries by 6.7% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 7,609,432 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $271,277,000 after buying an additional 474,868 shares during the period. Crow Point Partners LLC acquired a new stake in South Jersey Industries during the third quarter valued at $9,616,000. Finally, Russell Investments Group Ltd. acquired a new stake in South Jersey Industries during the fourth quarter valued at $10,731,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 69.44% of the company’s stock.

About South Jersey Industries

South Jersey Industries, Inc (SJI) is an energy services holding company. The Company provides a range of energy-related products and services, primarily through its subsidiaries. Its subsidiaries include South Jersey Gas Company (SJG), South Jersey Energy Company (SJE), South Jersey Resources Group, LLC (SJRG), South Jersey Exploration, LLC (SJEX), Marina Energy, LLC (Marina), South Jersey Energy Service Plus, LLC (SJESP) and SJI Midstream, LLC (Midstream).

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