Chesapeake Utilities Co. (NYSE:CPK) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Chesapeake Utilities Corporation is a utility company engaged in natural gas distribution and transmission, propane distribution and marketing, advanced information services and other related businesses.Chesapeake’s three natural gas distribution divisions serve residential, commercial and industrial customers in southern Delaware, Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Florida. The Company’s natural gas transmission subsidiary operates an interstate pipeline system that transports gas from various points in Pennsylvania to Delaware and Maryland distribution divisions. “

Separately, Royal Bank of Canada began coverage on shares of Chesapeake Utilities in a report on Wednesday, April 26th. They issued a “sector perform” rating and a $75.00 target price for the company. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the stock. Chesapeake Utilities presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $72.00.

Analyst Recommendations for Chesapeake Utilities (NYSE:CPK)

Shares of Chesapeake Utilities (NYSE:CPK) traded up 1.03% during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $73.35. 37,654 shares of the stock were exchanged. The company has a market capitalization of $1.20 billion, a P/E ratio of 26.82 and a beta of 0.20. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $71.57 and a 200-day moving average of $67.56. Chesapeake Utilities has a 1-year low of $56.56 and a 1-year high of $74.85.

Chesapeake Utilities (NYSE:CPK) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, May 3rd. The utilities provider reported $1.17 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.46 by $0.29. Chesapeake Utilities had a net margin of 8.98% and a return on equity of 11.34%. The business had revenue of $185.20 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $159.70 million. During the same period last year, the business posted $1.33 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 26.6% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts expect that Chesapeake Utilities will post $2.99 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, July 5th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, June 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.325 per share. This represents a $1.30 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.77%. This is a positive change from Chesapeake Utilities’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.31. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, June 13th. Chesapeake Utilities’s payout ratio is presently 45.19%.

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In other Chesapeake Utilities news, insider John R. Schimkaitis sold 2,125 shares of Chesapeake Utilities stock in a transaction on Thursday, March 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $68.70, for a total transaction of $145,987.50. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, VP Elaine B. Bittner sold 593 shares of Chesapeake Utilities stock in a transaction on Wednesday, April 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.00, for a total transaction of $41,510.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 23,608 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,652,560. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 11,193 shares of company stock valued at $793,120 over the last ninety days. 5.36% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Victory Capital Management Inc. raised its position in Chesapeake Utilities by 36.7% in the first quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 2,265 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $157,000 after buying an additional 608 shares during the last quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. raised its position in Chesapeake Utilities by 16.5% in the fourth quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 2,766 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $186,000 after buying an additional 391 shares during the last quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA raised its position in Chesapeake Utilities by 255.9% in the first quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 2,744 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $190,000 after buying an additional 1,973 shares during the last quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC purchased a new position in Chesapeake Utilities during the first quarter valued at approximately $204,000. Finally, Eqis Capital Management Inc. purchased a new position in Chesapeake Utilities during the first quarter valued at approximately $208,000. 56.97% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Chesapeake Utilities Company Profile

Chesapeake Utilities Corporation (Chesapeake) is an energy company. The Company operates through two segments: Regulated Energy and Unregulated Energy. The Company provides natural gas distribution and transmission; natural gas supply, gathering, processing and marketing; electric distribution and generation; propane distribution; propane and crude oil wholesale marketing; steam generation, and other energy-related services.

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