Avista (NYSE:AVA) Lifted to “Buy” at Mizuho

Avista (NYSE:AVAGet Rating) was upgraded by equities research analysts at Mizuho from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a report released on Friday, The Fly reports. The firm presently has a $44.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock. Mizuho’s price target would suggest a potential upside of 9.10% from the stock’s previous close.

Avista Price Performance

AVA opened at $40.33 on Friday. Avista has a one year low of $37.73 and a one year high of $46.90. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.05, a current ratio of 0.75 and a quick ratio of 0.56. The company’s 50 day simple moving average is $41.99 and its 200-day simple moving average is $42.88. The stock has a market capitalization of $2.94 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.58, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.87 and a beta of 0.53.

Avista (NYSE:AVAGet Rating) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 3rd. The utilities provider reported $0.16 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.17 by ($0.01). Avista had a net margin of 9.53% and a return on equity of 6.80%. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.20 EPS. Sell-side analysts anticipate that Avista will post 1.93 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Insiders Place Their Bets

In other Avista news, SVP Jason R. Thackston sold 1,250 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $43.37, for a total value of $54,212.50. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 26,570 shares in the company, valued at $1,152,340.90. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Company insiders own 0.94% of the company’s stock.

Institutional Investors Weigh In On Avista

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Lazard Asset Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Avista by 178.0% during the first quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC now owns 1,540 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $69,000 after acquiring an additional 986 shares during the period. Meeder Asset Management Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Avista during the 1st quarter worth about $84,000. SeaCrest Wealth Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Avista during the 2nd quarter worth about $83,000. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. boosted its holdings in shares of Avista by 1,438.6% during the 1st quarter. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. now owns 2,154 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $97,000 after buying an additional 2,014 shares during the period. Finally, EverSource Wealth Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Avista by 913.0% during the 2nd quarter. EverSource Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 2,259 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $98,000 after buying an additional 2,036 shares during the period. 83.39% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Avista Company Profile

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Avista Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as an electric and natural gas utility company. It operates in two segments, Avista Utilities and AEL&P. The Avista Utilities segment provides electric distribution and transmission, and natural gas distribution services in parts of eastern Washington and northern Idaho; and natural gas distribution services in parts of northeastern and southwestern Oregon, as well as generates electricity in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Montana.

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