Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Southwest Gas Corp. (NYSE:SWX) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday morning. They currently have $77.00 price objective on the stock.

According to Zacks, “SOUTHWEST GAS CORP. is principally engaged in the business of purchasing, transporting, and distributing natural gas in portions of Arizona, Nevada, and California. The Company also engaged in financial services activities, through PriMerit Bank, Federal Savings Bank (PriMerit or the Bank), a wholly owned subsidiary. “

A number of other research firms also recently weighed in on SWX. Jefferies Group downgraded shares of Southwest Gas Corp. from a hold rating to an underperform rating and set a $64.00 price target on the stock. in a research note on Monday, July 25th. Citigroup Inc. lifted their price target on shares of Southwest Gas Corp. from $62.00 to $79.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 27th. Finally, Argus reiterated a hold rating on shares of Southwest Gas Corp. in a research note on Thursday, September 8th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, The company presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $72.75.

Shares of Southwest Gas Corp. (NYSE:SWX) traded up 0.17% on Tuesday, hitting $69.15. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 56,107 shares. The firm has a market cap of $3.28 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.58 and a beta of 0.54. Southwest Gas Corp. has a one year low of $50.53 and a one year high of $79.58. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $69.28 and a 200 day moving average price of $71.02.

Southwest Gas Corp. (NYSE:SWX) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Monday, August 8th. The company reported $0.19 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.18 by $0.01. Southwest Gas Corp. had a net margin of 5.90% and a return on equity of 9.07%. The firm had revenue of $547.70 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $559.21 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.13 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 1.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts predict that Southwest Gas Corp. will post $3.17 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 1st. Investors of record on Tuesday, November 15th will be issued a $0.45 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, November 10th. This represents a $1.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.61%. Southwest Gas Corp.’s dividend payout ratio is 59.02%.

In related news, SVP Eric Debonis sold 600 shares of Southwest Gas Corp. stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $72.99, for a total value of $43,794.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 19,694 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,437,465.06. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, CFO Roy R. Centrella sold 1,000 shares of Southwest Gas Corp. stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, September 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $71.54, for a total value of $71,540.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 31,618 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,261,951.72. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.34% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Advisor Group Inc. acquired a new position in Southwest Gas Corp. during the second quarter worth about $106,000. O Shaughnessy Asset Management LLC acquired a new position in Southwest Gas Corp. during the second quarter worth about $190,000. Ashfield Capital Partners LLC acquired a new position in Southwest Gas Corp. during the second quarter worth about $215,000. Stifel Financial Corp acquired a new position in Southwest Gas Corp. during the second quarter worth about $218,000. Finally, LS Investment Advisors LLC boosted its position in Southwest Gas Corp. by 75.4% in the second quarter. LS Investment Advisors LLC now owns 2,833 shares of the company’s stock worth $223,000 after buying an additional 1,218 shares in the last quarter. 80.17% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Southwest Gas Corp. Company Profile

Southwest Gas Corporation is engaged in the business of purchasing, distributing and transporting natural gas in Arizona, Nevada and California. The Company operates through two segments: natural gas operations and construction services, which includes the operations of the Company’s subsidiary, Centuri Construction Group, Inc, (Centuri).

5 Day Chart for NYSE:SWX

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