CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE:CNP) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Friday. The brokerage currently has a $32.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price indicates a potential upside of 13.56% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “CenterPoint Energy started off 2017 on a mixed note. While its first-quarter earnings comfortably surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate, the quarterly revenue figure failed to meet the mark. However, revenues improved year over year. The company has been strengthening its infrastructure through regular capital investment and acquisitions, which will help it to meet the requirements of an expanding customer base. Toward this end, the company continues with its capital expenditure plan of $7 billion from 2017 through 2021. Moreover, a steady growth in customer count has mainly driven the company’s performance over the last several quarters. CenterPoint’s shares returned higher than the Zacks categorized Utility-Electric Power industry in the last twelve months. However, the company’s results are subject to the impact of weather patterns, regulatory and judicial proceedings, and fluctuating commodity prices.”

Several other brokerages also recently weighed in on CNP. Deutsche Bank AG increased their target price on CenterPoint Energy from $27.00 to $28.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 11th. Barclays PLC increased their target price on CenterPoint Energy from $27.00 to $29.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Monday, March 20th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada downgraded CenterPoint Energy from an “outperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating and raised their price objective for the stock from $17.00 to $28.00 in a research report on Thursday, March 16th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. CenterPoint Energy presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $27.50.

Analyst Recommendations for CenterPoint Energy (NYSE:CNP)

CenterPoint Energy (NYSE:CNP) traded up 0.35% during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $28.28. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,061,530 shares. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $27.91 and a 200 day moving average of $26.23. CenterPoint Energy has a 1-year low of $21.81 and a 1-year high of $28.86. The firm has a market capitalization of $12.19 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.19 and a beta of 0.56.

CenterPoint Energy (NYSE:CNP) last issued its earnings results on Friday, May 5th. The utilities provider reported $0.37 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.36 by $0.01. CenterPoint Energy had a positive return on equity of 15.00% and a negative net margin of 2.46%. The company had revenue of $2.74 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.14 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.32 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 37.9% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts expect that CenterPoint Energy will post $1.31 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 9th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, May 16th will be paid a $0.2675 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, May 12th. This represents a $1.07 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.80%. CenterPoint Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently -245.24%.

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In related news, CEO Scott M. Prochazka sold 1,000 shares of CenterPoint Energy stock in a transaction on Monday, April 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $27.45, for a total transaction of $27,450.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. 0.15% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC boosted its position in shares of CenterPoint Energy by 0.3% in the first quarter. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC now owns 9,398 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $260,000 after buying an additional 32 shares during the last quarter. Cleararc Capital Inc. increased its stake in shares of CenterPoint Energy by 0.8% in the first quarter. Cleararc Capital Inc. now owns 10,542 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $291,000 after buying an additional 84 shares during the last quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS increased its stake in shares of CenterPoint Energy by 0.4% in the fourth quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS now owns 24,689 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $608,000 after buying an additional 91 shares during the last quarter. Advantus Capital Management Inc increased its stake in shares of CenterPoint Energy by 0.3% in the first quarter. Advantus Capital Management Inc now owns 43,232 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,192,000 after buying an additional 119 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Federated Investors Inc. PA increased its stake in shares of CenterPoint Energy by 0.7% in the fourth quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA now owns 20,922 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $516,000 after buying an additional 140 shares during the last quarter. 72.50% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

CenterPoint Energy Company Profile

CenterPoint Energy, Inc is a public utility holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates electric transmission and distribution facilities, and natural gas distribution facilities. The Electric Transmission & Distribution segment provides electric transmission and distribution services to retail electric providers.

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