Northwest Natural Gas Co. (NYSE:NWN) announced a quarterly dividend on Thursday, October 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, October 31st will be given a dividend of 0.47 per share on Tuesday, November 15th. This represents a $1.88 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.31%. This is a boost from Northwest Natural Gas’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.47.

Shares of Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE:NWN) opened at 56.81 on Friday. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $60.37 and a 200 day moving average of $58.75. Northwest Natural Gas has a 52-week low of $45.38 and a 52-week high of $66.17. The company has a market cap of $1.57 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 25.34 and a beta of 0.36.

Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE:NWN) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 2nd. The company reported $0.07 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.06 by $0.01. The company earned $99.20 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $111.12 million. Northwest Natural Gas had a net margin of 9.09% and a return on equity of 8.09%. Northwest Natural Gas’s quarterly revenue was down 28.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.08 EPS. On average, equities research analysts expect that Northwest Natural Gas will post $2.08 EPS for the current year.

In related news, CEO Gregg S. Kantor sold 1,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $63.91, for a total transaction of $63,910.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 43,410 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,774,333.10. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 2.07% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Arizona State Retirement System increased its stake in shares of Northwest Natural Gas by 1.4% in the second quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 14,240 shares of the company’s stock valued at $923,000 after buying an additional 200 shares during the period. Highbridge Capital Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Northwest Natural Gas during the second quarter valued at approximately $1,344,000. Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Northwest Natural Gas during the second quarter valued at approximately $407,000. AQR Capital Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Northwest Natural Gas by 262.3% in the second quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 74,179 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,808,000 after buying an additional 53,704 shares during the period. Finally, Panagora Asset Management Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Northwest Natural Gas during the second quarter valued at approximately $958,000. 61.07% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Separately, Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Northwest Natural Gas from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $73.00 price target for the company in a research note on Wednesday, July 6th.

Northwest Natural Gas Company Profile

Northwest Natural Gas Company is engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Company’s segments include Local Gas Distribution, Gas Storage and other. The Company maintains operations in Oregon, Washington and California and conducts businesses through NW Natural and its subsidiaries. The local gas distribution business, referred to as the utility segment, serves residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Oregon and southwest Washington.

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