Aqua America (NYSE:WTR) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Monday. The firm presently has a $41.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target indicates a potential upside of 16.74% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Aqua America’s shares have gained higher than the industry in the last 12 months. Aqua America has expanded its customer base through acquisitions during the first nine months of 2017. It aims to increase its customer level by 1.5-2% in 2017 through strategic acquisitions and organic initiatives. Rate hikes are boosting its earnings and the company is continuing with its infrastructural strengthening initiatives. The company aims to make capital investments of over $450 million in 2017, which is part of an ambitious investment target of more than $1.2 billion in the 2017-2019 period. Aqua America, like other water utilities runs the risk of contamination of water sources, which could raise its operating costs while fluctuating weather conditions might dampen demand for water.”

A number of other analysts have also weighed in on WTR. Robert W. Baird restated a “hold” rating and set a $32.00 target price on shares of Aqua America in a research note on Sunday, October 1st. Boenning Scattergood restated a “buy” rating and set a $43.00 target price on shares of Aqua America in a research note on Wednesday, November 1st. Barclays upped their target price on shares of Aqua America from $36.00 to $38.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday, September 22nd. Hilliard Lyons upgraded shares of Aqua America from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Thursday, December 21st. Finally, Argus upped their target price on shares of Aqua America from $37.00 to $41.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 13th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Aqua America currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $39.17.

Aqua America (NYSE:WTR) traded down $1.25 during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $35.12. 1,311,600 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 800,289. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.01, a current ratio of 0.55 and a quick ratio of 0.48. Aqua America has a 12-month low of $29.41 and a 12-month high of $39.55. The stock has a market capitalization of $6,240.49, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.41, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 4.43 and a beta of 0.59.

Aqua America (NYSE:WTR) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, October 31st. The utilities provider reported $0.43 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.43. Aqua America had a net margin of 29.38% and a return on equity of 12.49%. The firm had revenue of $215.01 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $234.40 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.41 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 5.1% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts forecast that Aqua America will post 1.36 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other Aqua America news, VP David Smeltzer sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $36.36, for a total value of $363,600.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 71,397 shares in the company, valued at $2,595,994.92. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Insiders acquired 70,500 shares of company stock worth $8,475 over the last quarter. 0.25% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Headinvest LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Aqua America in the third quarter valued at approximately $203,000. Private Vista LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Aqua America in the third quarter valued at approximately $205,000. Eqis Capital Management Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Aqua America in the third quarter valued at approximately $206,000. IFP Advisors Inc boosted its holdings in shares of Aqua America by 31.8% in the third quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 6,196 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $206,000 after acquiring an additional 1,495 shares during the period. Finally, Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Aqua America in the third quarter valued at approximately $211,000. Institutional investors own 51.66% of the company’s stock.

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About Aqua America

Aqua America, Inc is a holding company. The Company is engaged in providing water or wastewater services concentrated in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, North Carolina, New Jersey, Indiana and Virginia. The Company is the holding company for its primary subsidiary, Aqua Pennsylvania, Inc Its market-based activities are conducted through Aqua Resources, Inc (Aqua Resources) and Aqua Infrastructure, LLC (Aqua Infrastructure).

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