NorthWestern Corporation (NYSE:NWE) has earned an average recommendation of “Sell” from the six ratings firms that are currently covering the company, Marketbeat Ratings reports. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and two have assigned a hold rating to the company. The average 12-month price target among brokers that have issued ratings on the stock in the last year is $54.67.

Several research firms have recently commented on NWE. KeyCorp reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of NorthWestern in a report on Friday, October 20th. Zacks Investment Research raised NorthWestern from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 1st. Credit Suisse Group lowered their target price on NorthWestern from $60.00 to $58.00 and set an “underperform” rating for the company in a report on Friday, November 10th. Finally, Bank of America began coverage on NorthWestern in a report on Tuesday, October 24th. They set an “underperform” rating and a $54.00 target price for the company.

Shares of NorthWestern (NWE) opened at $57.41 on Friday. NorthWestern has a 52-week low of $55.65 and a 52-week high of $64.47. The stock has a market capitalization of $2,790.00, a PE ratio of 17.29, a PEG ratio of 10.92 and a beta of 0.38. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.05, a quick ratio of 0.33 and a current ratio of 0.42.

NorthWestern (NYSE:NWE) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, November 1st. The utilities provider reported $0.74 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.75 by ($0.01). The firm had revenue of $309.90 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $305.60 million. NorthWestern had a net margin of 12.44% and a return on equity of 9.41%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 3.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.68 earnings per share. research analysts predict that NorthWestern will post 3.39 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 29th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 15th were issued a dividend of $0.525 per share. This represents a $2.10 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.66%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, December 14th. NorthWestern’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 63.25%.

In other news, CEO Robert C. Rowe sold 3,626 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $64.25, for a total transaction of $232,970.50. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 1.33% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of NWE. Alliancebernstein L.P. boosted its position in shares of NorthWestern by 1,275.3% during the second quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 933,993 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $56,992,000 after buying an additional 866,081 shares during the period. Janus Henderson Group PLC acquired a new position in shares of NorthWestern during the second quarter worth approximately $36,722,000. Teachers Advisors LLC boosted its position in shares of NorthWestern by 87.1% during the second quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 618,396 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $37,735,000 after buying an additional 287,912 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of NorthWestern by 4.7% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 4,458,394 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $272,052,000 after buying an additional 200,531 shares during the period. Finally, Hillcrest Asset Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of NorthWestern during the third quarter worth approximately $9,870,000. 93.64% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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NorthWestern Company Profile

NorthWestern Corporation, doing business as North-Western Energy, provides electricity and natural gas. The Company’s segments are Electric operations, Natural gas operations and All other. As of December 31, 2016, the Company provided electricity and natural gas to approximately 709,600 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.

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