NorthWestern Corp. (NYSE:NWE) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Northwestern Corporation d/b/a NorthWestern Energy is an investor-owned utility and one of the largest providers of electricity and natural gas in the northwest quadrant of the United States. NorthWestern was incorporated in Delaware in November 1923, and since has generated and distributed electricity in South Dakota and distributed natural gas in South Dakota and Nebraska through their energy division, NorthWestern Energy. “

Several other research analysts have also recently weighed in on the stock. Mizuho dropped their price target on shares of NorthWestern Corp. from $65.00 to $60.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research note on Thursday, October 20th. Williams Capital upgraded shares of NorthWestern Corp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $58.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Monday, October 10th.

NorthWestern Corp. (NYSE:NWE) opened at 58.34 on Wednesday. The stock has a market cap of $2.82 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.38 and a beta of 0.34. NorthWestern Corp. has a 52 week low of $51.95 and a 52 week high of $63.75. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $56.21 and a 200-day moving average price of $58.54.

NorthWestern Corp. (NYSE:NWE) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, October 20th. The company reported $0.68 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.58 by $0.10. NorthWestern Corp. had a net margin of 13.04% and a return on equity of 9.94%. The business earned $301 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $282.30 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.51 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 10.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts anticipate that NorthWestern Corp. will post $3.20 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 30th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, December 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.50 per share. This represents a $2.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.43%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, December 13th. NorthWestern Corp.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 59.52%.

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In other news, CEO Robert C. Rowe sold 3,011 shares of NorthWestern Corp. stock in a transaction on Monday, September 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total transaction of $174,638.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 132,843 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,704,894. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Insiders own 1.34% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. American Century Companies Inc. boosted its position in shares of NorthWestern Corp. by 37.9% in the second quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 1,341,395 shares of the company’s stock valued at $84,602,000 after buying an additional 368,598 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors boosted its position in NorthWestern Corp. by 4.9% in the second quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 5,981,454 shares of the company’s stock worth $377,250,000 after buying an additional 279,392 shares during the period. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its position in NorthWestern Corp. by 15.0% in the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 1,745,435 shares of the company’s stock worth $100,415,000 after buying an additional 227,498 shares during the period. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. boosted its position in NorthWestern Corp. by 18.1% in the third quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 1,425,411 shares of the company’s stock worth $82,004,000 after buying an additional 218,173 shares during the period. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in NorthWestern Corp. by 4.9% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 4,136,896 shares of the company’s stock worth $260,914,000 after buying an additional 193,484 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 97.31% of the company’s stock.

About NorthWestern Corp.

NorthWestern Corporation, doing business as North-Western Energy, provides electricity and natural gas. The Company provides electricity and natural gas to over 701,000 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. It generates and distributes electricity in South Dakota; distributes natural gas in South Dakota and Nebraska, and generates and distributes electricity and distributed natural gas in Montana.

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