Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Westar Energy Inc (WR) to Hold

Westar Energy Inc (NYSE:WR) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Saturday.

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. “

Analyst Recommendations for Westar Energy (NYSE:WR)

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) opened at 54.33 on Friday. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $54.09 and a 200-day moving average price of $55.73. Westar Energy has a 1-year low of $47.52 and a 1-year high of $57.50. The firm has a market capitalization of $7.72 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.36 and a beta of 0.38.

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, February 22nd. The company reported $0.38 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.42 by $0.04. The business earned $606.53 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $578.83 million. Westar Energy had a return on equity of 8.91% and a net margin of 13.27%. Westar Energy’s revenue was up 11.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.28 earnings per share. On average, analysts forecast that Westar Energy will post $2.51 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 3rd. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 9th will be paid a $0.40 dividend. This is a positive change from Westar Energy’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.38. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.94%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, March 7th. Westar Energy’s dividend payout ratio is currently 65.24%.

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In other Westar Energy news, SVP Jerl L. Banning sold 1,850 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, March 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $54.61, for a total value of $101,028.50. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. 0.61% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Alpine Associates Management Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Westar Energy during the fourth quarter worth $59,138,000. Luminus Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Westar Energy during the fourth quarter worth $48,781,000. Renaissance Technologies LLC raised its position in shares of Westar Energy by 174.4% in the fourth quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 1,156,900 shares of the company’s stock worth $65,191,000 after buying an additional 735,300 shares in the last quarter. Adage Capital Partners GP L.L.C. raised its position in shares of Westar Energy by 27.3% in the third quarter. Adage Capital Partners GP L.L.C. now owns 2,839,087 shares of the company’s stock worth $161,118,000 after buying an additional 609,087 shares in the last quarter. Finally, CNH Partners LLC raised its position in shares of Westar Energy by 18.2% in the fourth quarter. CNH Partners LLC now owns 2,917,887 shares of the company’s stock worth $164,423,000 after buying an additional 449,454 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 70.02% of the company’s stock.

About Westar Energy

Westar Energy, Inc (Westar Energy) is an electric utility in Kansas. The Company provides electric generation, transmission and distribution services to approximately 700,000 customers in Kansas. The Company provides these services in central and northeastern Kansas, including the cities of Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan, Salina and Hutchinson.

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