Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report released on Friday. The brokerage currently has a $98.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective suggests a potential upside of 12.01% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Duke Energy’s hefty investment plans for the next five years is expected to improve its business by generating cleaner energy and bolstering its renewable asset base, buoys optimism. Moreover, over the next 10 years, Duke Energy plans to strengthen its energy delivery system by investing $25 billion to create a more modern, smarter energy grid. The company has also been pursuing additional generation projects, such as dual-fuel capabilities, and combined heat and power facilities to increase the flexibility of its system. Duke Energy also pursues a systematic asset divestment initiative. Moreover, it outperformed the broader industry in the last year. Yet, potential volatility in market prices of fuel, electricity and other renewable energy commodities could create operational risks for the company. In addition, adverse outcome from pending regulatory cases may negatively impact Duke Energy’s earnings.”

Several other research firms have also weighed in on DUK. Royal Bank Of Canada restated a “buy” rating and set a $87.00 price objective on shares of Duke Energy Corporation in a research note on Tuesday, August 29th. Morgan Stanley upped their price target on shares of Duke Energy Corporation from $89.00 to $92.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Friday, September 8th. KeyCorp reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Duke Energy Corporation in a research note on Friday, September 1st. Deutsche Bank AG reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $84.00 price target (up previously from $83.00) on shares of Duke Energy Corporation in a research note on Wednesday, August 9th. Finally, BidaskClub upgraded shares of Duke Energy Corporation from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 22nd. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $83.18.

Shares of Duke Energy Corporation (DUK) traded down 0.46% during midday trading on Friday, hitting $87.10. The stock had a trading volume of 1,670,440 shares. Duke Energy Corporation has a 1-year low of $72.34 and a 1-year high of $88.40. The firm has a market capitalization of $60.97 billion, a PE ratio of 25.80 and a beta of 0.25. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $86.62 and its 200-day moving average price is $84.29.

Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 3rd. The utilities provider reported $1.01 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $1.01. The company had revenue of $5.56 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.76 billion. Duke Energy Corporation had a net margin of 9.89% and a return on equity of 7.72%. Duke Energy Corporation’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $1.07 EPS. Equities analysts predict that Duke Energy Corporation will post $4.60 earnings per share for the current year.

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In related news, EVP Douglas F. Esamann sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $86.22, for a total value of $431,100.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 50,316 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,338,245.52. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. 0.07% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of DUK. BlackRock Inc. lifted its stake in Duke Energy Corporation by 2,866.0% in the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 42,708,918 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,502,557,000 after purchasing an additional 41,268,968 shares during the last quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA lifted its stake in Duke Energy Corporation by 33.1% in the 1st quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 9,422,063 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $772,704,000 after purchasing an additional 2,345,114 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its stake in Duke Energy Corporation by 4.1% in the 1st quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 48,471,025 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,975,109,000 after purchasing an additional 1,918,598 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC lifted its stake in Duke Energy Corporation by 30.6% in the 1st quarter. FMR LLC now owns 4,909,584 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $402,635,000 after purchasing an additional 1,151,408 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board lifted its stake in Duke Energy Corporation by 191.8% in the 1st quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 1,602,472 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $131,419,000 after purchasing an additional 1,053,262 shares during the last quarter. 56.22% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Duke Energy Corporation Company Profile

Duke Energy Corporation (Duke Energy) is an energy company. The Company operates through three segments: Electric Utilities and Infrastructure; Gas Utilities and Infrastructure, and Commercial Renewables. The Company operates in the United States through its direct and indirect subsidiaries. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure segment provides retail electric service through the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 7.5 million customers within the Southeast and Midwest regions of the United States.

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