Northwest Natural Gas Co (NWN) Expected to Post Earnings of $0.97 Per Share

Equities analysts expect Northwest Natural Gas Co (NYSE:NWN) to report earnings of $0.97 per share for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Zero analysts have provided estimates for Northwest Natural Gas’ earnings. Northwest Natural Gas reported earnings of $1.00 per share during the same quarter last year, which would suggest a negative year-over-year growth rate of 3%. The firm is scheduled to issue its next earnings results before the market opens on Friday, February 23rd.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Northwest Natural Gas will report full year earnings of $2.18 per share for the current year, with EPS estimates ranging from $2.15 to $2.20. For the next fiscal year, analysts anticipate that the business will post earnings of $2.28 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $2.25 to $2.30. Zacks Investment Research’s EPS calculations are an average based on a survey of analysts that cover Northwest Natural Gas.

Several research analysts have commented on NWN shares. Wells Fargo & Co downgraded shares of Northwest Natural Gas from a “market perform” rating to an “underperform” rating in a report on Monday, December 18th. Royal Bank of Canada initiated coverage on Northwest Natural Gas in a research note on Tuesday, December 19th. They issued a “sector perform” rating and a $63.00 price objective for the company. Zacks Investment Research raised Northwest Natural Gas from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $75.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Saturday, November 18th. Guggenheim downgraded Northwest Natural Gas from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 2nd. Finally, Sidoti downgraded Northwest Natural Gas from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $63.00 price objective for the company. in a research note on Monday, January 8th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. Northwest Natural Gas has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $67.00.

Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE:NWN) traded up $1.85 on Friday, hitting $56.10. The stock had a trading volume of 222,439 shares, compared to its average volume of 170,935. The stock has a market capitalization of $1,610.80, a P/E ratio of 25.50, a P/E/G ratio of 5.48 and a beta of 0.33. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89, a quick ratio of 0.69 and a current ratio of 0.98. Northwest Natural Gas has a 1 year low of $52.47 and a 1 year high of $69.50.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 15th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, January 31st will be given a dividend of $0.4725 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, January 30th. This represents a $1.89 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.37%. Northwest Natural Gas’s payout ratio is 85.91%.

In other Northwest Natural Gas news, Director Mark S. Dodson sold 1,036 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, January 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $56.05, for a total transaction of $58,067.80. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Company insiders own 1.48% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in NWN. Bessemer Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Northwest Natural Gas by 225.2% in the third quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 359,343 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $23,141,000 after purchasing an additional 248,857 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in shares of Northwest Natural Gas by 2.7% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 3,747,717 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $223,552,000 after purchasing an additional 97,590 shares during the last quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. raised its stake in shares of Northwest Natural Gas by 758.1% in the fourth quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 106,400 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $5,285,000 after purchasing an additional 94,000 shares during the last quarter. First Trust Advisors LP raised its stake in shares of Northwest Natural Gas by 20.1% in the fourth quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 403,053 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $24,042,000 after purchasing an additional 67,493 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Assenagon Asset Management S.A. purchased a new stake in shares of Northwest Natural Gas in the fourth quarter worth approximately $3,946,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 64.95% of the company’s stock.

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About Northwest Natural Gas

Northwest Natural Gas Company (NW Natural) is engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Company’s segments include Local Gas Distribution, Gas Storage and other. The Company maintains operations in Oregon, Washington and California and conducts businesses through NW Natural and its subsidiaries.

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