Chesapeake Utilities (CPK) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Hold”

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Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Chesapeake Utilities (NYSE:CPK) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday morning, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Chesapeake Utilities Corporation is a utility company engaged in natural gas distribution and transmission, propane distribution and marketing, advanced information services and other related businesses.Chesapeake’s three natural gas distribution divisions serve residential, commercial and industrial customers in southern Delaware, Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Florida. The Company’s natural gas transmission subsidiary operates an interstate pipeline system that transports gas from various points in Pennsylvania to Delaware and Maryland distribution divisions. “

Several other brokerages have also weighed in on CPK. Wells Fargo & Co boosted their price objective on Chesapeake Utilities from $84.00 to $90.00 and gave the company a market perform rating in a report on Monday, March 4th. Maxim Group set a $100.00 price objective on Chesapeake Utilities and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, May 8th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $97.31.

Shares of Chesapeake Utilities stock opened at $93.91 on Wednesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.55, a current ratio of 0.30 and a quick ratio of 0.27. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.54 billion, a P/E ratio of 26.09, a PEG ratio of 4.22 and a beta of 0.25. Chesapeake Utilities has a fifty-two week low of $73.55 and a fifty-two week high of $95.60.

Chesapeake Utilities (NYSE:CPK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, May 8th. The utilities provider reported $1.68 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.60 by $0.08. The firm had revenue of $227.62 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $271.10 million. Chesapeake Utilities had a return on equity of 11.41% and a net margin of 8.27%. Equities research analysts anticipate that Chesapeake Utilities will post 3.71 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, July 5th. Investors of record on Friday, June 14th will be issued a $0.405 dividend. This is a positive change from Chesapeake Utilities’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.37. This represents a $1.62 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.73%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, June 13th. Chesapeake Utilities’s payout ratio is currently 44.71%.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in CPK. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. increased its holdings in Chesapeake Utilities by 29.6% in the first quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now owns 834,874 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $76,148,000 after buying an additional 190,773 shares during the last quarter. BTIM Corp. bought a new position in shares of Chesapeake Utilities during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $12,969,000. State of Wisconsin Investment Board bought a new position in shares of Chesapeake Utilities during the first quarter valued at approximately $6,002,000. Millennium Management LLC grew its holdings in shares of Chesapeake Utilities by 517.8% during the fourth quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 66,381 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $5,397,000 after purchasing an additional 55,637 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Morgan Stanley grew its holdings in shares of Chesapeake Utilities by 92.4% during the first quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 114,969 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $10,486,000 after purchasing an additional 55,205 shares during the last quarter. 64.62% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Chesapeake Utilities

Chesapeake Utilities Corporation, a diversified energy company, engages in regulated and unregulated energy businesses. The company operates in two segments, Regulated Energy and Unregulated Energy. The Regulated Energy segment engages in the distribution of natural gas in Delaware, Maryland, and Florida; distribution of electricity in Florida; and transmission of natural gas on the Delmarva Peninsula and in Florida.

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