Avista Corp. (NYSE:AVA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday. The brokerage presently has a $44.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price objective would indicate a potential upside of 10.75% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Avista Corp. is a diversified energy company with utility and subsidiary operations located throughout North America. Avista Corp. also operates Avista Capital, which owns all the company’s non-regulated energy and non-energy businesses. Avista Capital companies include Avista Energy, Avista Energy Canada, Ltd., Avista Power, Avista Advantage, Avista Labs, Avista Fiber, Avista Communiations, Avista Development and Pentzer Corporation. (PRESS RELEASE) “

AVA has been the subject of a number of other research reports. Williams Capital boosted their price target on Avista Corp. from $38.00 to $40.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, September 22nd. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “hold” rating and set a $42.00 price target on shares of Avista Corp. in a research report on Wednesday, June 22nd.

Avista Corp. (NYSE:AVA) traded down 3.43% on Tuesday, hitting $39.73. The stock had a trading volume of 282,415 shares. The firm has a market cap of $2.53 billion, a PE ratio of 18.29 and a beta of 0.40. The company’s 50 day moving average is $41.64 and its 200 day moving average is $41.64. Avista Corp. has a 12-month low of $32.61 and a 12-month high of $45.22.

Avista Corp. (NYSE:AVA) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 3rd. The company reported $0.43 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.45 by $0.02. The business earned $234.79 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $316.24 million. Avista Corp. had a net margin of 9.38% and a return on equity of 8.32%. Avista Corp.’s revenue for the quarter was down 5.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.40 EPS. On average, equities research analysts expect that Avista Corp. will post $2.08 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 1st were paid a dividend of $0.3425 per share. This represents a $1.37 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.45%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, August 30th. Avista Corp.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 64.02%.

In other Avista Corp. news, insider Marian M. Durkin sold 3,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.56, for a total transaction of $148,960.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 67,245 shares in the company, valued at $2,861,947.20. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, SVP Jason R. Thackston sold 950 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, September 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $40.90, for a total value of $38,855.00. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 17,232 shares in the company, valued at approximately $704,788.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 1.07% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Advisor Group Inc. bought a new position in shares of Avista Corp. during the second quarter worth approximately $107,000. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC boosted its position in shares of Avista Corp. by 24,520.0% in the second quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC now owns 2,462 shares of the company’s stock worth $111,000 after buying an additional 2,452 shares in the last quarter. Pinkerton Retirement Specialists LLC bought a new position in shares of Avista Corp. during the second quarter worth approximately $117,000. Washington Trust Bank boosted its position in shares of Avista Corp. by 1.0% in the third quarter. Washington Trust Bank now owns 4,012 shares of the company’s stock worth $168,000 after buying an additional 38 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bank of Montreal Can bought a new position in shares of Avista Corp. during the second quarter worth approximately $181,000. Institutional investors own 68.07% of the company’s stock.

About Avista Corp.

Avista Corporation is an electric and natural gas utility with certain other business ventures. The Company operates through two business segments: Avista Utilities, and Alaska Electric Light and Power Company (AEL&P). Avista Utilities segment generates, transmits and distributes electricity, and distributes natural gas serving electric and natural gas customers in eastern Washington and northern Idaho and natural gas customers in parts of Oregon.

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