Westar Energy (WR) Lifted to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Sunday. The firm currently has a $57.00 price objective on the utilities provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target points to a potential upside of 11.87% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Westar Energy, Inc. is Kansas’ largest electric utility. Westar has 7,200 MW of electric generation capacity fueled by coal, uranium, natural gas, wind and landfill gas. They are a leader in electric transmission in Kansas. Their innovative customer service programs include mobile-enabled customer care, digital meters and paving the way for electric vehicle adoption. “

WR has been the subject of several other reports. Wells Fargo & Co raised Westar Energy from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $55.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Monday, October 2nd. Bank of America started coverage on Westar Energy in a research note on Tuesday, October 24th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $57.00 price objective for the company. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $58.00 price objective on Westar Energy and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 12th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company. Westar Energy has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $56.00.

Shares of Westar Energy (NYSE WR) opened at $50.95 on Friday. The stock has a market capitalization of $7,258.17, a PE ratio of 21.14, a P/E/G ratio of 5.98 and a beta of 0.42. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.97, a current ratio of 1.07 and a quick ratio of 0.65. Westar Energy has a one year low of $49.20 and a one year high of $57.32.

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 31st. The utilities provider reported $1.11 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.20 by ($0.09). The business had revenue of $794.33 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $773.96 million. Westar Energy had a return on equity of 8.94% and a net margin of 13.32%. The firm’s revenue was up 3.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $1.09 earnings per share. analysts predict that Westar Energy will post 2.45 earnings per share for the current year.

In other news, VP Kevin L. Kongs sold 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.06, for a total transaction of $108,120.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, SVP Greg A. Greenwood sold 8,100 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.92, for a total value of $436,752.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 55,100 shares of company stock valued at $2,991,312. Company insiders own 0.70% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. State of Alaska Department of Revenue raised its stake in shares of Westar Energy by 7.7% during the 4th quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 41,870 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,209,000 after purchasing an additional 2,980 shares in the last quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Westar Energy by 5.8% during the 4th quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 498,558 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $26,324,000 after purchasing an additional 27,491 shares in the last quarter. Gateway Investment Advisers LLC raised its stake in shares of Westar Energy by 27.2% during the 4th quarter. Gateway Investment Advisers LLC now owns 142,371 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $7,517,000 after purchasing an additional 30,478 shares in the last quarter. Colorado Capital Management Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Westar Energy during the 4th quarter worth about $205,000. Finally, Nisa Investment Advisors LLC raised its stake in shares of Westar Energy by 18.1% during the 4th quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 52,200 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,756,000 after purchasing an additional 8,000 shares in the last quarter. 73.63% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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About Westar Energy

Westar Energy, Inc is an electric utility. The Company provides electric generation, transmission and distribution services. The Company provides these services in central and northeastern Kansas, including the cities of Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan, Salina and Hutchinson. Its subsidiary, Kansas Gas and Electric Company (KGE), provides these services in south-central and southeastern Kansas, including the city of Wichita.

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