Shares of Northwest Natural Gas Company (NYSE:NWN) have been assigned a consensus rating of “Buy” from the six brokerages that are presently covering the firm, MarketBeat reports. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating, two have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating on the company. The average twelve-month price target among brokerages that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $66.00.

NWN has been the subject of several analyst reports. BidaskClub cut shares of Northwest Natural Gas from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 19th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Northwest Natural Gas from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $74.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Wednesday, August 30th. Finally, Sidoti reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $75.00 price objective (up previously from $68.00) on shares of Northwest Natural Gas in a research note on Monday, June 19th.

In other news, CEO David Hugo Anderson sold 8,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, September 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.97, for a total value of $535,760.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 71,484 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,787,283.48. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, VP Grant M. Yoshihara sold 2,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.03, for a total transaction of $132,060.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 15,301 shares in the company, valued at $1,010,325.03. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 14,000 shares of company stock valued at $924,800. 1.48% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Teachers Advisors LLC lifted its position in shares of Northwest Natural Gas by 2.3% during the 4th quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 54,827 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,279,000 after acquiring an additional 1,214 shares during the period. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC raised its holdings in Northwest Natural Gas by 30.6% during the first quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 10,710 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $633,000 after buying an additional 2,510 shares during the last quarter. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC raised its holdings in Northwest Natural Gas by 2.1% during the first quarter. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC now owns 10,318 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $610,000 after buying an additional 210 shares during the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN raised its holdings in Northwest Natural Gas by 3.2% during the first quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 107,645 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $6,362,000 after buying an additional 3,295 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Great West Life Assurance Co. Can raised its holdings in Northwest Natural Gas by 7.0% during the first quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can now owns 40,273 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,378,000 after buying an additional 2,632 shares during the last quarter. 63.46% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Shares of Northwest Natural Gas (NWN) opened at 67.60 on Friday. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.94 billion, a PE ratio of 30.25 and a beta of 0.42. Northwest Natural Gas has a 12 month low of $53.50 and a 12 month high of $67.75. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $64.87 and a 200-day moving average price of $61.30.

Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE:NWN) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.10 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.06 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $136.24 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $78.51 million. Northwest Natural Gas had a net margin of 8.38% and a return on equity of 7.51%. Northwest Natural Gas’s revenue was up 37.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.07 EPS. Equities research analysts expect that Northwest Natural Gas will post $2.18 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, August 15th. Investors of record on Monday, July 31st were given a dividend of $0.47 per share. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.78%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, July 27th. Northwest Natural Gas’s dividend payout ratio is 85.07%.

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About Northwest Natural Gas

Northwest Natural Gas Company (NW Natural) is engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Company’s segments include Local Gas Distribution, Gas Storage and other. The Company maintains operations in Oregon, Washington and California and conducts businesses through NW Natural and its subsidiaries.

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