NiSource, Inc (NYSE:NI) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of NiSource have returned better than the broader industry in the last six months. NiSource is benefiting from continued execution of its infrastructure investment strategy.  NiSource will annually invest nearly $1.6–$1.8 billion in planned utility infrastructures from 2018 to 2020 and has identified long-term infrastructure investments worth $30 billion. Despite investing in upgrade programs, NiSource Inc. faces the risk of disruption in operation from its ageing infrastructure. Further, delays in completion of projects increase capital costs and stretch the time limit of NiSource’s expected benefit from these projects. Inconsistent weather conditions might deter NiSource’s growth.”

Several other equities research analysts also recently issued reports on NI. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $23.00 price target on shares of NiSource in a report on Friday, March 31st. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services started coverage on NiSource in a report on Friday, May 19th. They set a “buy” rating and a $27.00 price target for the company. Zelman & Associates downgraded NiSource from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, May 30th. Finally, Barclays PLC reaffirmed an “equal weight” rating and set a $26.00 price target (up previously from $25.00) on shares of NiSource in a report on Thursday, June 1st. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $25.89.

Shares of NiSource (NYSE:NI) traded up 0.51% during trading on Monday, reaching $25.45. 288,231 shares of the company were exchanged. NiSource has a one year low of $21.17 and a one year high of $26.56. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $25.56 and a 200-day moving average price of $23.72. The stock has a market capitalization of $8.26 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.26 and a beta of 0.37.

NiSource (NYSE:NI) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, May 3rd. The utilities provider reported $0.71 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.65 by $0.06. NiSource had a return on equity of 9.18% and a net margin of 7.65%. The business had revenue of $1.60 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.51 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.62 EPS. Equities analysts predict that NiSource will post $1.18 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, August 18th. Shareholders of record on Monday, July 31st will be given a dividend of $0.175 per share. This represents a $0.70 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.76%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, July 27th. NiSource’s payout ratio is 64.22%.

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In related news, CFO Donald Eugene Brown sold 6,906 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, May 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $25.51, for a total value of $176,172.06. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 141,168 shares in the company, valued at $3,601,195.68. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, EVP Violet Sistovaris sold 38,550 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, May 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $24.25, for a total value of $934,837.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 185,186 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,490,760.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 89,981 shares of company stock worth $2,191,779 in the last quarter. Company insiders own 0.32% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. boosted its position in shares of NiSource by 0.4% in the first quarter. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. now owns 6,054 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $144,000 after buying an additional 27 shares during the last quarter. Balasa Dinverno & Foltz LLC boosted its position in shares of NiSource by 0.3% in the first quarter. Balasa Dinverno & Foltz LLC now owns 21,364 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $508,000 after buying an additional 68 shares during the last quarter. Level Four Advisory Services LLC boosted its position in shares of NiSource by 0.5% in the first quarter. Level Four Advisory Services LLC now owns 16,299 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $388,000 after buying an additional 76 shares during the last quarter. Lynch & Associates IN boosted its position in shares of NiSource by 0.6% in the first quarter. Lynch & Associates IN now owns 21,069 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $501,000 after buying an additional 125 shares during the last quarter. Finally, HighTower Advisors LLC boosted its position in shares of NiSource by 0.5% in the first quarter. HighTower Advisors LLC now owns 27,685 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $661,000 after buying an additional 129 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 82.40% of the company’s stock.

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.

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