Spark Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPKE) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Spark Energy, Inc. is an independent retail energy services company. It provides residential and commercial customers across the United States with an alternative choice for their natural gas and electricity. The company is involved in the retail distribution of natural gas and electricity. It also offers renewable and carbon neutral products. Spark Energy, Inc. is headquartered in Houston, Texas. “

Several other equities research analysts also recently commented on SPKE. FBR & Co boosted their target price on shares of Spark Energy from $18.50 to $23.50 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, June 1st. Guggenheim upgraded shares of Spark Energy from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $23.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Friday, July 7th. Janney Montgomery Scott downgraded shares of Spark Energy from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and boosted their target price for the company from $22.95 to $24.00 in a research note on Thursday, June 22nd. Wunderlich boosted their target price on shares of Spark Energy from $22.00 to $27.50 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, June 12th. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded shares of Spark Energy from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, August 7th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Spark Energy currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $23.08.

Spark Energy (NASDAQ SPKE) traded up 3.71% on Friday, reaching $18.15. 133,827 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. Spark Energy has a 12 month low of $11.52 and a 12 month high of $23.65. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $19.99 and a 200 day moving average of $17.55. The stock has a market capitalization of $238.58 million, a PE ratio of 25.00 and a beta of -1.62.

Spark Energy (NASDAQ:SPKE) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, August 4th. The utilities provider reported $0.01 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.16 by $0.15. Spark Energy had a return on equity of 9.13% and a net margin of 1.68%. The business had revenue of $151.44 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $135.72 million. Equities analysts predict that Spark Energy will post $0.68 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Spark Energy announced that its Board of Directors has approved a stock buyback plan on Wednesday, May 24th that permits the company to repurchase $50.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the utilities provider to buy up to 19.2% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are generally a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

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In other Spark Energy news, Director W Keith Maxwell III purchased 10,100 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 16th. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $36.23 per share, with a total value of $365,923.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now directly owns 310,710 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $11,257,023.30. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CEO Nathan Kroeker sold 21,244 shares of Spark Energy stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $43.13, for a total value of $916,253.72. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 28,135 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,213,462.55. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders bought 51,380 shares of company stock worth $1,914,818 and sold 175,586 shares worth $4,175,616. 66.89% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its position in Spark Energy by 85.0% in the second quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 1,226,430 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $23,057,000 after buying an additional 563,480 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in Spark Energy by 118.4% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 1,220,209 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $22,941,000 after buying an additional 661,547 shares in the last quarter. American Century Companies Inc. boosted its position in Spark Energy by 108.7% in the second quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 1,065,211 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $20,026,000 after buying an additional 554,707 shares in the last quarter. Crow Point Partners LLC boosted its position in Spark Energy by 68.1% in the second quarter. Crow Point Partners LLC now owns 1,022,954 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $20,203,000 after buying an additional 414,395 shares in the last quarter. Finally, LSV Asset Management boosted its position in Spark Energy by 90.6% in the second quarter. LSV Asset Management now owns 823,992 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $15,491,000 after buying an additional 391,646 shares in the last quarter. 22.95% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Spark Energy

Spark Energy, Inc is an independent retail energy services company. The Company provides residential and commercial customers across the United States with an alternative choice for their natural gas and electricity. The Company operates through two segments: Retail Natural Gas Segment and Retail Electricity Segment.

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