Atmos Energy (ATO) Lowered to “Sell” at Zacks Investment Research

Atmos Energy (NYSE:ATO) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Atmos Energy Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the distribution, transmission, and storage of natural gas in the United States. It operates in three segments: Regulated Distribution, Regulated Pipeline, and Nonregulated. The Regulated Distribution segment is involved in regulated natural gas distribution and related sales operations. This segment distributes natural gas to approximately 3 million residential, commercial, public authority, and industrial customers. The Regulated Pipeline segment engages in the pipeline and storage operations. This segment transports natural gas for third parties and manages five underground storage reservoirs in Texas; and provides ancillary services in the pipeline industry. The Nonregulated segment provides natural gas management, marketing, transportation, and storage services to municipalities, local gas distribution companies, and industrial customers primarily in the Midwest and Southeast. “

Separately, JPMorgan Chase & Co. upped their target price on shares of Atmos Energy from $91.00 to $94.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 12th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $89.20.

Atmos Energy (NYSE:ATO) traded down $0.16 during trading on Tuesday, hitting $79.84. 738,000 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 562,656. The stock has a market cap of $8,858.90, a P/E ratio of 21.35, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.97 and a beta of 0.40. Atmos Energy has a twelve month low of $72.58 and a twelve month high of $93.56. The company has a quick ratio of 0.35, a current ratio of 0.53 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.79.

Atmos Energy (NYSE:ATO) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, November 8th. The utilities provider reported $0.34 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $0.34. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.40 EPS. equities research analysts forecast that Atmos Energy will post 3.61 earnings per share for the current year.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in ATO. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. increased its stake in Atmos Energy by 72.1% during the 2nd quarter. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. now owns 2,922 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $242,000 after buying an additional 1,224 shares during the period. Aberdeen Asset Management PLC UK purchased a new stake in Atmos Energy during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $597,000. Capital Fund Management S.A. purchased a new stake in Atmos Energy during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $431,000. Riverhead Capital Management LLC increased its stake in Atmos Energy by 68.9% during the 2nd quarter. Riverhead Capital Management LLC now owns 6,756 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $560,000 after buying an additional 2,756 shares during the period. Finally, Stephens Inc. AR increased its position in shares of Atmos Energy by 30.3% in the 2nd quarter. Stephens Inc. AR now owns 7,559 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $627,000 after purchasing an additional 1,759 shares during the last quarter. 67.70% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Atmos Energy

Atmos Energy Corporation is a fully-regulated, natural-gas-only distributor engaged primarily in the regulated natural gas distribution and pipeline businesses, as well as other nonregulated natural gas businesses. It operates through three segments: regulated distribution segment, which includes its regulated distribution and related sales operations; regulated pipeline segment, which includes pipeline and storage operations of its Atmos Pipeline-Texas Division, and nonregulated segment, which includes its nonregulated natural gas management, nonregulated natural gas transmission, storage and other services.

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