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Unitil Co. (NYSE:UTL) Given Consensus Recommendation of "Hold" by Brokerages

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 | MarketBeat

Unitil Co. (NYSE:UTL) has been given an average rating of "Hold" by the six brokerages that are currently covering the firm, Marketbeat reports. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell recommendation, three have given a hold recommendation and one has assigned a buy recommendation to the company. The average 12-month target price among brokers that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $59.00.

A number of brokerages have commented on UTL. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Unitil from a "hold" rating to a "sell" rating in a report on Thursday, August 6th. Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a "hold" rating and set a $56.00 target price on shares of Unitil in a report on Thursday, July 23rd. TheStreet cut shares of Unitil from a "b-" rating to a "c+" rating in a report on Thursday, July 9th. Bank of America raised shares of Unitil from an "underperform" rating to a "neutral" rating in a research note on Wednesday. Finally, BofA Securities upgraded shares of Unitil from an "underperform" rating to a "neutral" rating in a research note on Wednesday.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Principal Financial Group Inc. lifted its holdings in Unitil by 14.7% in the 2nd quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 318,385 shares of the utilities provider's stock worth $14,270,000 after purchasing an additional 40,784 shares in the last quarter. Bank of America Corp DE raised its holdings in shares of Unitil by 39.3% during the 2nd quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 60,986 shares of the utilities provider's stock worth $2,734,000 after acquiring an additional 17,208 shares in the last quarter. Advisor Group Holdings Inc. boosted its position in shares of Unitil by 6.4% during the 2nd quarter. Advisor Group Holdings Inc. now owns 61,625 shares of the utilities provider's stock valued at $2,764,000 after acquiring an additional 3,717 shares during the last quarter. Baird Financial Group Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Unitil by 6.8% in the second quarter. Baird Financial Group Inc. now owns 6,090 shares of the utilities provider's stock valued at $376,000 after purchasing an additional 388 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Johnson Investment Counsel Inc. increased its position in Unitil by 25.7% in the second quarter. Johnson Investment Counsel Inc. now owns 25,603 shares of the utilities provider's stock worth $1,148,000 after purchasing an additional 5,242 shares during the last quarter. 70.40% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

UTL stock traded up $1.57 during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $40.23. 609 shares of the company's stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 68,542. Unitil has a 52-week low of $38.31 and a 52-week high of $65.76. The stock has a market cap of $579.78 million, a P/E ratio of 17.98, a PEG ratio of 3.68 and a beta of 0.14. The company has a current ratio of 0.73, a quick ratio of 0.67 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.13. The stock's 50-day moving average is $41.38 and its 200 day moving average is $47.58.

Unitil (NYSE:UTL) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, July 30th. The utilities provider reported $0.21 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks' consensus estimate of $0.22 by ($0.01). Unitil had a net margin of 7.69% and a return on equity of 8.42%. The business had revenue of $83.90 million for the quarter, compared to analysts' expectations of $81.00 million. As a group, research analysts expect that Unitil will post 2.22 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, August 28th. Investors of record on Friday, August 14th were issued a $0.375 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 13th. This represents a $1.50 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.73%. Unitil's dividend payout ratio is presently 64.94%.

About Unitil

Unitil Corporation, a public utility holding company, engages in the distribution of electricity and natural gas in the United States. It operates through three segments: Utility Gas Operations, Utility Electric Operations, and Non-Regulated. The company distributes electricity in the southeastern seacoast and state capital regions of New Hampshire, and the greater Fitchburg area of north central Massachusetts; and distributes natural gas in southeastern New Hampshire, portions of southern Maine to the Lewiston-Auburn area, and in the greater Fitchburg area of north central Massachusetts.

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