NiSource (NI) Downgraded to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of NiSource (NYSE:NI) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note published on Tuesday morning, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “NiSource's shares have underperformed the industry in the past three months.Despite investments to upgrade programs, NiSource's ageing infrastructure is likely to cause disruption in operation. Debt level is another headwind amid rising interest rates. There is always an inherent risk associated with the timely completion of projects and within budget. Delay in completion increases capital costs and stretches the time limit of the company’s expected benefit from these projects. However, the company has made considerable progress on regulatory initiatives across different states it operates in. The company has a 100% regulated utility business model. Its planned regulated investments will improve reliability as well as safety and provide efficient natural gas services to an increasing customer base.”

A number of other brokerages have also recently commented on NI. Goldman Sachs Group raised shares of NiSource from a neutral rating to a buy rating and raised their price objective for the stock from $26.00 to $29.00 in a research note on Monday, April 8th. KeyCorp increased their target price on NiSource from $28.00 to $29.00 and gave the company an overweight rating in a research report on Monday, December 17th. ValuEngine upgraded NiSource from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Friday, March 1st. Finally, Guggenheim upgraded NiSource from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a research report on Monday, January 7th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $27.85.

Shares of NYSE NI opened at $27.60 on Tuesday. The company has a market cap of $10.44 billion, a PE ratio of 21.23, a PEG ratio of 3.53 and a beta of 0.28. NiSource has a 12 month low of $23.23 and a 12 month high of $28.85. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.46, a quick ratio of 0.40 and a current ratio of 0.51.

NiSource (NYSE:NI) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, February 20th. The utilities provider reported $0.38 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.36 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $1.46 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.40 billion. NiSource had a negative net margin of 0.99% and a positive return on equity of 9.69%. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.33 EPS. As a group, analysts forecast that NiSource will post 1.3 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, May 20th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, April 30th will be given a dividend of $0.20 per share. The ex-dividend date is Monday, April 29th. This represents a $0.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.90%. NiSource’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 61.54%.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted its holdings in NiSource by 34.7% in the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 12,869,201 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $320,701,000 after purchasing an additional 3,317,125 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank purchased a new position in NiSource in the 4th quarter valued at $47,499,000. FMR LLC lifted its holdings in NiSource by 104.5% in the 4th quarter. FMR LLC now owns 3,036,242 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $76,968,000 after purchasing an additional 1,551,419 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc lifted its holdings in NiSource by 3.9% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 39,886,268 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $993,966,000 after purchasing an additional 1,483,703 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its holdings in NiSource by 3.9% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 39,886,268 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $993,966,000 after purchasing an additional 1,483,703 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 93.44% of the company’s stock.

NiSource Company Profile

NiSource Inc, an energy holding company, operates as a regulated natural gas and electric utility company in the United States. The company operates in two segments, Gas Distribution Operations and Electric Operations. It provides natural gas service and transportation for residential, commercial, and industrial customers; generates, transmits, and distributes electricity; and wholesale and transmission transaction services.

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