NiSource (NYSE:NI) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of NiSource have gained higher than the industry it belongs to in the last 12 months. NiSource is benefiting from continued execution of its infrastructure investment strategy.  NiSource will annually invest nearly $1.6-$1.8 billion in planned utility infrastructures from 2019 to 2020 and has identified long-term infrastructure investments worth $30 billion. The company is also working actively to reduce its carbon footprint by bringing down the coal usage. Despite investing in upgrade programs, NiSource Inc. faces the risk of disruption in operation from its ageing infrastructure. NiSource’s rising debt level amid increasing interest rates is another concern.”

Several other research firms have also weighed in on NI. Citigroup upped their target price on shares of NiSource from $28.00 to $31.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, November 20th. KeyCorp reissued a “buy” rating and set a $29.50 price objective on shares of NiSource in a report on Friday, October 20th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased their price objective on shares of NiSource from $25.00 to $27.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a report on Thursday, October 12th. Credit Suisse Group increased their price objective on shares of NiSource from $29.00 to $30.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Thursday, November 2nd. Finally, Jefferies Group reissued a “hold” rating and set a $26.00 price objective on shares of NiSource in a report on Wednesday, December 20th. Six research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $27.95.

Shares of NiSource (NYSE:NI) traded down $0.31 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $25.36. 2,695,100 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 2,746,650. NiSource has a 52 week low of $21.65 and a 52 week high of $27.76. The firm has a market cap of $8,645.49, a PE ratio of 30.93, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.38 and a beta of 0.37. The company has a current ratio of 0.52, a quick ratio of 0.32 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.72.

NiSource (NYSE:NI) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, November 1st. The utilities provider reported $0.07 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.07. NiSource had a net margin of 5.61% and a return on equity of 8.97%. The company had revenue of $917.00 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $901.00 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.06 EPS. research analysts forecast that NiSource will post 1.2 EPS for the current year.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Alliancebernstein L.P. raised its holdings in NiSource by 32.8% during the 2nd quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 10,831,595 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $274,689,000 after buying an additional 2,675,042 shares during the period. Lord Abbett & CO. LLC acquired a new stake in shares of NiSource in the 2nd quarter worth $63,874,000. Ameriprise Financial Inc. boosted its position in shares of NiSource by 349.2% in the 2nd quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 1,981,096 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $50,247,000 after purchasing an additional 1,540,050 shares in the last quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group acquired a new stake in shares of NiSource in the 2nd quarter worth $35,129,000. Finally, Cohen & Steers Inc. boosted its position in shares of NiSource by 98.7% in the 3rd quarter. Cohen & Steers Inc. now owns 2,256,420 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $57,742,000 after purchasing an additional 1,120,910 shares in the last quarter. 82.19% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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About NiSource

NiSource Inc is an energy holding company. The Company is engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Company operates through two business segments: Gas Distribution Operations and Electric Operations. The Company’s Gas Distribution Operations segment provides natural gas service and transportation for residential, commercial and industrial customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Indiana and Massachusetts.

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