American States Water Company (NYSE:AWR) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note issued on Monday. The brokerage presently has a $64.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective indicates a potential upside of 15.09% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Shares of American States Water have outperformed the industry in the last 12 months.  The company’s strength lies in an expanding customer base, extensive water rights and strong credit ratings. Further, it makes systematic investments to strengthen existing infrastructure. In addition, new water rates will help to boost its margins. American Sates Water’s major drawback is its dependence on a single state, California, for the majority of its earnings. Plus its highly regulated operations and risk of water contamination leading to increase in operating costs could adversely impact results.”

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently weighed in on AWR. Wells Fargo & Company boosted their price target on shares of American States Water from $46.00 to $48.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 3rd. BidaskClub raised shares of American States Water from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 3rd. Finally, US Capital Advisors reissued a “hold” rating on shares of American States Water in a research report on Monday, July 17th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating, one has issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $51.00.

Shares of American States Water (NYSE:AWR) traded down 0.49% during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $55.34. The stock had a trading volume of 22,012 shares. American States Water has a 12 month low of $37.47 and a 12 month high of $56.31. The firm has a market cap of $2.03 billion, a PE ratio of 29.87 and a beta of 0.45. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $51.41 and its 200 day moving average is $48.26.

American States Water (NYSE:AWR) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.62 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.45 by $0.17. The business had revenue of $113.20 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $119.23 million. American States Water had a net margin of 15.44% and a return on equity of 13.70%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.45 EPS. Equities research analysts predict that American States Water will post $1.70 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, VP James B. Gallagher sold 1,932 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.97, for a total value of $98,474.04. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 23,667 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,206,306.99. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Anne M. Holloway sold 5,450 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, September 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $36.95, for a total transaction of $201,377.50. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 48,963 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,809,182.85. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 32,605 shares of company stock valued at $1,572,067. 1.49% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in AWR. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA raised its holdings in shares of American States Water by 59.2% in the second quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 13,514 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $641,000 after buying an additional 5,023 shares during the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. raised its holdings in shares of American States Water by 5.3% in the second quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 334,952 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $15,880,000 after buying an additional 16,830 shares during the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System raised its holdings in shares of American States Water by 7.5% in the first quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 79,100 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,504,000 after buying an additional 5,500 shares during the last quarter. Chicago Equity Partners LLC purchased a new stake in shares of American States Water in the second quarter valued at about $2,454,000. Finally, BKS Advisors LLC raised its holdings in shares of American States Water by 1.0% in the second quarter. BKS Advisors LLC now owns 55,551 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,634,000 after buying an additional 531 shares during the last quarter. 65.49% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About American States Water

American States Water Company (AWR) is a holding company. The Company is the parent company of Golden State Water Company (GSWC) and American States Utility Services, Inc (ASUS), as well as ASUS’ subsidiaries, such as Fort Bliss Water Services Company (FBWS), Terrapin Utility Services, Inc (TUS), Old Dominion Utility Services, Inc (ODUS), Palmetto State Utility Services, Inc (PSUS) and Old North Utility Services, Inc (ONUS).

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