Aqua America, Inc. (NYSE:WTR) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Aqua America already expanded its customer base through acquisitions during the first half of 2017. It aims to increase its customer level by 1.5-2% in 2017 through strategic acquisitions and organic initiatives. Rate hikes are boosting its earnings and the company is continuing with its infrastructural strengthening initiatives.The company aims to make capital investments of over $450 million in 2017, which is part of an ambitious investment target of more than $1.2 billion in the 2017-2019 period. Year to date Aqua America's return was marginally lower than the industry it belongs to. However, Aqua America, like other water utilities runs the risk of contamination of water sources, which could raise its operating costs while fluctuating weather conditions might dampen demand for water.”

Several other research analysts have also recently weighed in on the stock. Robert W. Baird restated a “hold” rating and set a $32.00 price target on shares of Aqua America in a report on Sunday, October 1st. Barclays PLC boosted their price target on shares of Aqua America from $36.00 to $38.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, September 22nd. Boenning Scattergood restated an “outperform” rating on shares of Aqua America in a report on Tuesday, September 5th. Finally, BidaskClub upgraded shares of Aqua America from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, August 11th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $36.00.

Aqua America (NYSE:WTR) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.34 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $0.34. Aqua America had a net margin of 28.59% and a return on equity of 12.51%. The business had revenue of $203.40 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $208.28 million. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.33 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down .2% compared to the same quarter last year.

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In other Aqua America news, insider Robert A. Rubin sold 12,499 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, September 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $34.46, for a total value of $430,715.54. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 80,604 shares in the company, valued at $2,777,613.84. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 0.25% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Benjamin F. Edwards & Company Inc. boosted its stake in Aqua America by 10.6% in the second quarter. Benjamin F. Edwards & Company Inc. now owns 4,480 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $149,000 after acquiring an additional 431 shares during the last quarter. IFP Advisors Inc boosted its stake in Aqua America by 20.8% in the second quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 4,701 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $157,000 after acquiring an additional 809 shares during the last quarter. Barrett Asset Management LLC purchased a new position in Aqua America in the second quarter valued at about $197,000. Huntington National Bank boosted its stake in Aqua America by 6.7% in the second quarter. Huntington National Bank now owns 5,950 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $199,000 after acquiring an additional 375 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Eqis Capital Management Inc. purchased a new position in Aqua America in the third quarter valued at about $206,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 51.02% of the company’s stock.

Aqua America Company Profile

Aqua America, Inc is a holding company. The Company is engaged in providing water or wastewater services concentrated in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, North Carolina, New Jersey, Indiana and Virginia. The Company is the holding company for its primary subsidiary, Aqua Pennsylvania, Inc Its market-based activities are conducted through Aqua Resources, Inc (Aqua Resources) and Aqua Infrastructure, LLC (Aqua Infrastructure).

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