Zacks Investment Research Lowers Aqua America (WTR) to Hold

Aqua America (NYSE:WTR) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Sunday.

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.”

Other research analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. Boenning Scattergood reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $43.00 price target on shares of Aqua America in a research note on Wednesday, November 1st. Argus increased their price target on Aqua America from $37.00 to $41.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 13th. Robert W. Baird reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $32.00 price target on shares of Aqua America in a research note on Wednesday, November 1st. Hilliard Lyons raised Aqua America from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Thursday, December 21st. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co raised Aqua America from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $40.00 price target for the company in a research note on Thursday, October 19th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $39.17.

Aqua America (WTR) opened at $35.72 on Friday. Aqua America has a 52 week low of $29.41 and a 52 week high of $39.55. The stock has a market capitalization of $6,350.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.86, a PEG ratio of 4.47 and a beta of 0.59. The company has a quick ratio of 0.48, a current ratio of 0.55 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.01.

Aqua America (NYSE:WTR) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 31st. The utilities provider reported $0.43 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.43. Aqua America had a return on equity of 12.49% and a net margin of 29.38%. The company had revenue of $215.01 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $234.40 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.41 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 5.1% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts expect that Aqua America will post 1.36 EPS for the current year.

In related news, VP David Smeltzer sold 10,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $36.36, for a total transaction of $363,600.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 71,397 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,595,994.92. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Insiders have purchased 70,500 shares of company stock valued at $8,475 in the last ninety days. Company insiders own 0.25% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Headinvest LLC bought a new position in Aqua America during the third quarter valued at about $203,000. Private Vista LLC bought a new position in Aqua America during the third quarter valued at about $205,000. Eqis Capital Management Inc. bought a new position in Aqua America during the third quarter valued at about $206,000. IFP Advisors Inc boosted its stake in Aqua America by 31.8% during the third quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 6,196 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $206,000 after buying an additional 1,495 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. bought a new position in Aqua America during the third quarter valued at about $211,000. 51.66% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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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