Williams Cos. (NYSE:WMB) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Well positioned to take advantage of the nation's natural gas supply growth, Williams' large-scale value-creating projects position it for strong returns even in a low commodity price environment. The positives led the company to report decent second-quarter 2016 results. We appreciate the recently announced decision to divest Canadian businesses. The proceeds will help the company expand its existing pipeline networks and reduce debt levels. However, we believe that the termination of the Energy Transfer merger deal is a big blow to the company that will negatively affect its shareholders. Williams’ high debt levels have also been a concern. Considering these factors, we see limited upside from current levels and take a cautious stance on WMB stock.”

Other analysts have also recently issued reports about the company. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $25.00 price target on shares of Williams Cos. in a research report on Wednesday, July 13th. Raymond James Financial Inc. upgraded Williams Cos. from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 3rd. Jefferies Group increased their price target on Williams Cos. from $27.00 to $28.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, July 25th. Vetr raised Williams Cos. from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $22.78 price objective for the company in a report on Monday, June 27th. Finally, Citigroup Inc. decreased their price objective on Williams Cos. from $55.00 to $26.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a report on Tuesday, August 2nd. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twelve have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $29.82.

Analyst Recommendations for Williams Cos. (NYSE:WMB)

Shares of Williams Cos. (NYSE:WMB) traded down 0.55% during trading on Monday, reaching $28.97. The company had a trading volume of 1,920,113 shares. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $29.85 and its 200-day moving average price is $23.63. The stock’s market capitalization is $21.75 billion. Williams Cos. has a 12 month low of $10.22 and a 12 month high of $42.48.

Williams Cos. (NYSE:WMB) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Monday, August 1st. The company reported $0.19 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.22 by $0.03. Williams Cos. had a positive return on equity of 2.14% and a negative net margin of 16.82%. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.15 EPS. Equities analysts forecast that Williams Cos. will post $0.64 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, September 26th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 9th were paid a dividend of $0.20 per share. This represents a $0.80 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.75%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, September 7th. Williams Cos.’s dividend payout ratio is presently -49.38%.

In other news, VP Ted T. Timmermans sold 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $26.23, for a total transaction of $52,460.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 13,803 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $362,052.69. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Insiders own 8.87% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in WMB. Groesbeck Investment Management Corp NJ raised its stake in Williams Cos. by 1.4% in the first quarter. Groesbeck Investment Management Corp NJ now owns 121,458 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,952,000 after buying an additional 1,684 shares during the last quarter. Chubb Ltd. acquired a new stake in Williams Cos. during the first quarter worth about $5,625,000. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. raised its stake in Williams Cos. by 2.2% in the first quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. now owns 369,782 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,913,000 after buying an additional 7,800 shares during the last quarter. Omni Partners LLP acquired a new stake in Williams Cos. during the first quarter worth about $2,449,000. Finally, UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. raised its stake in Williams Cos. by 4.0% in the first quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 1,759,903 shares of the company’s stock worth $28,282,000 after buying an additional 67,745 shares during the last quarter. 83.73% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Williams Cos. Company Profile

The Williams Companies, Inc is an energy infrastructure company focused on connecting North America’s hydrocarbon resource plays to markets for natural gas, natural gas liquids and olefins. The Company’s segments include Williams Partners, Williams NGL & Petchem Services, and Other. Its Williams Partners segment consists of its consolidated partnership in Williams Partners L.P., including gas pipeline, which consists of interstate natural gas pipelines and pipeline joint project investments, and midstream business, which provides natural gas gathering, treating, processing and compression services.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:WMB

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