Middlesex Water Company (NASDAQ:MSEX) has been given an average broker rating score of 1.00 (Strong Buy) from the one brokers that cover the stock, Zacks Investment Research reports. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a strong buy rating. Middlesex Water’s rating score has improved by 66.7% from 90 days ago as a result of a number of analysts’ upgrades and downgrades.

Analysts have set a 1 year consensus price objective of $44.00 for the company and are expecting that the company will post $0.55 EPS for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Zacks has also assigned Middlesex Water an industry rank of 170 out of 265 based on the ratings given to its competitors.

A number of research analysts have recently commented on the stock. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Middlesex Water from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, September 14th. ValuEngine raised shares of Middlesex Water from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, August 4th. BidaskClub cut shares of Middlesex Water from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 10th. Finally, Janney Montgomery Scott restated a “buy” rating and issued a $44.00 price target on shares of Middlesex Water in a research note on Wednesday, October 4th.

In related news, President Gerard L. Esposito sold 1,700 shares of Middlesex Water stock in a transaction on Monday, October 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $42.89, for a total value of $72,913.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. 3.48% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Middlesex Water by 19.6% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 923,000 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $34,105,000 after buying an additional 150,958 shares during the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its stake in Middlesex Water by 3.5% during the second quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 566,765 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $22,444,000 after purchasing an additional 19,114 shares during the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC increased its stake in Middlesex Water by 6.5% during the second quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 528,400 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $20,925,000 after purchasing an additional 32,400 shares during the last quarter. First Manhattan Co. increased its stake in Middlesex Water by 5.2% during the second quarter. First Manhattan Co. now owns 338,897 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $13,420,000 after purchasing an additional 16,800 shares during the last quarter. Finally, State Street Corp increased its stake in Middlesex Water by 1.0% during the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 333,238 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $13,202,000 after purchasing an additional 3,154 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 48.99% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Middlesex Water (NASDAQ MSEX) traded down 1.54% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $43.48. 54,539 shares of the company traded hands. The company has a market capitalization of $710.33 million, a P/E ratio of 32.82 and a beta of 0.41. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $41.95 and its 200-day moving average is $39.02. Middlesex Water has a 52 week low of $32.23 and a 52 week high of $46.39.

Middlesex Water (NASDAQ:MSEX) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The utilities provider reported $0.33 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.38 by ($0.05). Middlesex Water had a return on equity of 9.95% and a net margin of 16.46%. The firm had revenue of $33.01 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $34.00 million. On average, equities analysts predict that Middlesex Water will post $1.48 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 1st. Investors of record on Thursday, November 9th will be paid a $0.2238 dividend. This represents a $0.90 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.06%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, November 8th. This is a positive change from Middlesex Water’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.21. Middlesex Water’s payout ratio is 63.91%.

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About Middlesex Water

Middlesex Water Company is a water utility company. The Company owns and operates regulated water utility and wastewater systems in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. The Company also operates water and wastewater systems under contract on behalf of municipal and private clients in New Jersey and Delaware.

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