NorthWestern Corp (NYSE:NWE) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Saturday.

According to Zacks, “Northwestern Corporation d/b/a NorthWestern Energy is an investor-owned utility and one of the largest providers of electricity and natural gas in the northwest quadrant of the United States. NorthWestern was incorporated in Delaware in November 1923, and since has generated and distributed electricity in South Dakota and distributed natural gas in South Dakota and Nebraska through their energy division, NorthWestern Energy. “

A number of other analysts also recently issued reports on NWE. Credit Suisse Group AG started coverage on shares of NorthWestern Corp in a report on Wednesday, January 25th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $60.00 price target for the company. Williams Capital raised their price target on shares of NorthWestern Corp from $58.00 to $61.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, April 28th.

NorthWestern Corp (NYSE:NWE) opened at 60.05 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $2.91 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.06 and a beta of 0.35. NorthWestern Corp has a 12 month low of $53.85 and a 12 month high of $63.75. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $59.89 and its 200 day moving average price is $57.78.

NorthWestern Corp (NYSE:NWE) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, April 26th. The utilities provider reported $1.13 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.10. The business had revenue of $367.30 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $368.51 million. NorthWestern Corp had a net margin of 13.04% and a return on equity of 9.94%. The business’s revenue was up 10.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.01 EPS. On average, equities research analysts predict that NorthWestern Corp will post $3.42 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 30th. Investors of record on Thursday, June 15th will be given a dividend of $0.525 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, June 13th. This represents a $2.10 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.49%. NorthWestern Corp’s payout ratio is currently 59.52%.

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In related news, VP Michael R. Cashell sold 4,500 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, March 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.27, for a total transaction of $262,215.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CEO Robert C. Rowe sold 7,252 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, May 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $60.89, for a total transaction of $441,574.28. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 24,659 shares of company stock valued at $1,463,406 in the last ninety days. 1.34% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of NWE. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. boosted its position in NorthWestern Corp by 0.8% in the fourth quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 3,868 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $222,000 after buying an additional 29 shares during the last quarter. Analytic Investors LLC boosted its position in NorthWestern Corp by 9.2% in the third quarter. Analytic Investors LLC now owns 25,743 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,481,000 after buying an additional 2,170 shares during the last quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. boosted its position in NorthWestern Corp by 2.0% in the fourth quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 1,432,751 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $81,481,000 after buying an additional 28,501 shares during the last quarter. Crow Point Partners LLC bought a new position in NorthWestern Corp during the third quarter worth $5,892,000. Finally, Mutual of America Capital Management LLC boosted its position in NorthWestern Corp by 58.4% in the third quarter. Mutual of America Capital Management LLC now owns 100,774 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $5,798,000 after buying an additional 37,162 shares during the last quarter. 98.15% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About NorthWestern Corp

NorthWestern Corporation, doing business as North-Western Energy, provides electricity and natural gas. The Company’s segments are Electric operations, Natural gas operations and All other. As of December 31, 2016, the Company provided electricity and natural gas to approximately 709,600 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.

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