Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE:WR) has earned an average recommendation of “Buy” from the seven research firms that are presently covering the stock, MarketBeat reports. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company. The average twelve-month target price among brokerages that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $55.75.

A number of research analysts have issued reports on WR shares. Evercore ISI upgraded Westar Energy from an “in-line” rating to an “outperform” rating and boosted their price target for the stock from $49.00 to $53.00 in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Westar Energy from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, July 7th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded Westar Energy from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and upped their price objective for the company from $32.00 to $53.00 in a report on Tuesday, July 11th. BidaskClub lowered Westar Energy from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 19th. Finally, Wolfe Research assumed coverage on Westar Energy in a report on Wednesday, July 26th. They issued an “outperform” rating for the company.

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Shares of Westar Energy (NYSE WR) opened at 52.82 on Friday. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $51.09 and a 200-day moving average price of $51.80. Westar Energy has a 12-month low of $49.20 and a 12-month high of $57.50. The firm has a market cap of $7.51 billion, a P/E ratio of 22.19 and a beta of 0.39.

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 8th. The utilities provider reported $0.50 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.56 by ($0.06). Westar Energy had a return on equity of 8.87% and a net margin of 13.33%. The business had revenue of $609.32 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $633.96 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.51 EPS. On average, equities research analysts expect that Westar Energy will post $2.49 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, October 2nd. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 8th were issued a $0.40 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, September 7th. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.03%. Westar Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 67.23%.

In other news, SVP Bruce A. Akin sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.50, for a total transaction of $257,500.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, CFO Anthony D. Somma sold 2,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.07, for a total value of $127,675.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 31,500 shares of company stock valued at $1,611,715. Insiders own 0.70% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. American Century Companies Inc. raised its position in Westar Energy by 365.2% during the second quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 4,057,368 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $215,122,000 after buying an additional 3,185,194 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in Westar Energy by 19.3% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 16,587,206 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $879,454,000 after buying an additional 2,679,597 shares during the period. Ameriprise Financial Inc. raised its position in Westar Energy by 270.4% during the second quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 1,681,339 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $89,148,000 after buying an additional 1,227,431 shares during the period. Janus Henderson Group PLC raised its position in Westar Energy by 8,831.1% during the second quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 1,169,889 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $62,028,000 after buying an additional 1,156,790 shares during the period. Finally, FMR LLC raised its position in Westar Energy by 149.4% during the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 893,611 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $48,496,000 after buying an additional 535,309 shares during the period. 73.55% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Westar Energy Company Profile

Westar Energy, Inc is an electric utility. The Company provides electric generation, transmission and distribution services. The Company provides these services in central and northeastern Kansas, including the cities of Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan, Salina and Hutchinson. Its subsidiary, Kansas Gas and Electric Company (KGE), provides these services in south-central and southeastern Kansas, including the city of Wichita.

Analyst Recommendations for Westar Energy (NYSE:WR)

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