NiSource (NI) Upgraded to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

NiSource (NYSE:NI) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday. The firm currently has a $27.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target suggests a potential upside of 12.78% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Shares of NiSource have returned higher than the industry it belongs to in the last 12 months. NiSource is benefiting from continued execution of its infrastructure investment strategy.  NiSource will annually invest nearly $1.6-$1.8 billion in planned utility infrastructures from 2019 to 2020 and has identified long-term infrastructure investments worth $30 billion. The company is also working actively to reduce its carbon footprint by bringing down the coal usage. Despite investing in upgrade programs, NiSource Inc. faces the risk of disruption in operation from its ageing infrastructure. NiSource’s rising debt level amid increasing interest rates is another concern.”

Several other equities research analysts have also commented on NI. Credit Suisse Group boosted their price target on shares of NiSource from $29.00 to $30.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Thursday, November 2nd. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted their price target on shares of NiSource from $25.00 to $27.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Thursday, October 12th. Edward Jones upgraded shares of NiSource from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, January 9th. Goldman Sachs Group upgraded shares of NiSource from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $23.00 price target for the company in a report on Wednesday, January 10th. Finally, KeyCorp restated a “buy” rating and issued a $29.50 price target on shares of NiSource in a report on Friday, October 20th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the stock. NiSource presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $27.32.

NiSource (NYSE:NI) traded down $0.04 during trading on Monday, reaching $23.94. 2,586,100 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 2,881,869. The stock has a market cap of $8,062.84, a PE ratio of 29.20, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.15 and a beta of 0.37. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.72, a quick ratio of 0.32 and a current ratio of 0.52. NiSource has a 12 month low of $21.65 and a 12 month high of $27.76.

NiSource (NYSE:NI) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, November 1st. The utilities provider reported $0.07 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $0.07. The company had revenue of $917.00 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $901.00 million. NiSource had a net margin of 5.61% and a return on equity of 8.97%. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.06 EPS. research analysts predict that NiSource will post 1.2 earnings per share for the current year.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Cohen & Steers Inc. raised its stake in shares of NiSource by 14,608.3% during the 2nd quarter. Cohen & Steers Inc. now owns 97,537,000 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $95,586,000 after acquiring an additional 96,873,859 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of NiSource by 2.4% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 33,914,394 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $860,069,000 after acquiring an additional 802,824 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in shares of NiSource by 2,428.6% during the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 23,705,566 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $563,954,000 after acquiring an additional 22,768,084 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its stake in shares of NiSource by 70.3% during the 1st quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 17,428,785 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $414,632,000 after acquiring an additional 7,194,018 shares in the last quarter. Finally, State Street Corp raised its stake in shares of NiSource by 1.1% during the 4th quarter. State Street Corp now owns 16,546,768 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $366,339,000 after acquiring an additional 179,592 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 82.21% of the company’s stock.

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About NiSource

NiSource Inc is an energy holding company. The Company is engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Company operates through two business segments: Gas Distribution Operations and Electric Operations. The Company’s Gas Distribution Operations segment provides natural gas service and transportation for residential, commercial and industrial customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Indiana and Massachusetts.

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