Stock analysts at Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services started coverage on shares of NiSource Inc. (NYSE:NI) in a note issued to investors on Friday. The firm set a “buy” rating and a $27.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services’ price objective points to a potential upside of 10.20% from the stock’s current price.

Several other equities analysts have also recently issued reports on NI. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of NiSource from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 31st. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $23.00 target price on shares of NiSource in a research note on Friday, March 31st. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $25.31.

Analyst Recommendations for NiSource (NYSE:NI)

Shares of NiSource (NYSE:NI) traded up 0.82% on Friday, reaching $24.70. 2,547,672 shares of the company were exchanged. NiSource has a 52 week low of $21.17 and a 52 week high of $26.94. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $24.12 and its 200 day moving average price is $22.91. The stock has a market capitalization of $8.02 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.58 and a beta of 0.29.

NiSource (NYSE:NI) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, May 3rd. The utilities provider reported $0.71 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.65 by $0.06. NiSource had a net margin of 6.87% and a return on equity of 8.76%. The business had revenue of $1.60 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.51 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.62 EPS. Equities research analysts anticipate that NiSource will post $1.18 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, August 18th. Stockholders of record on Monday, July 31st will be issued a dividend of $0.175 per share. This represents a $0.70 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.86%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, July 27th. NiSource’s payout ratio is 76.09%.

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In other news, EVP Violet Sistovaris sold 38,550 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, May 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $24.25, for a total transaction of $934,837.50. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 185,186 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,490,760.50. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, VP Joseph W. Mulpas sold 13,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, March 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $23.28, for a total transaction of $302,640.00. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 37,889 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $882,055.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 112,875 shares of company stock valued at $2,696,103 in the last ninety days. Insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. WFG Advisors LP raised its stake in NiSource by 14,596.4% in the fourth quarter. WFG Advisors LP now owns 4,115 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $104,000 after buying an additional 4,087 shares during the last quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC acquired a new stake in NiSource during the first quarter worth about $108,000. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. raised its stake in NiSource by 0.5% in the third quarter. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. now owns 4,694 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $113,000 after buying an additional 23 shares during the last quarter. First Financial Corp IN acquired a new stake in NiSource during the first quarter worth about $124,000. Finally, LSV Asset Management purchased a new stake in shares of NiSource during the first quarter worth about $159,000. 83.27% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

NiSource Company Profile

NiSource Inc is an energy holding company. The Company is engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Company operates through two business segments: Gas Distribution Operations and Electric Operations. The Company’s Gas Distribution Operations segment provides natural gas service and transportation for residential, commercial and industrial customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Indiana and Massachusetts.

12 Month Chart for NYSE:NI

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