WEC Energy Group Inc. (NYSE:WEC) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday. The brokerage currently has a $65.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price objective indicates a potential upside of 11.49% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “WEC Energy Group’s investments in infrastructure projects will help it to meet increasing customer demand and improve service reliability. WEC Energy Group’s decision to acquire Integrys has been fruitful, adding nearly $620 million to the company’s top line in the second quarter.  The company carries strong investment-grade credit ratings, which allows it to enjoy superior credit worthiness in the market. The utility has been consistently hiking dividends every year and aims for a payout ratio of 65-70%. However, coal still being the primary source of power for WEC Energy, installation of low-emission infrastructure at its generation systems to meet regulatory compliance increases the cost of operations. Further, the company is subject to operational risks associated with the breakdown or failure of equipment or processes due to fuel supply or transportation disruptions. “

Separately, Argus reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 price objective (up from $65.00) on shares of WEC Energy Group in a research report on Tuesday, August 2nd. Six analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $59.00.

Analyst Recommendations for WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC)

Shares of WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC) traded down 0.17% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $58.20. The stock had a trading volume of 717,710 shares. WEC Energy Group has a 52-week low of $47.98 and a 52-week high of $66.10. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $59.78 and a 200-day moving average price of $60.98. The company has a market cap of $18.37 billion, a PE ratio of 20.78 and a beta of 0.08.

WEC Energy Group (NYSE:WEC) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 27th. The company reported $0.57 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.56 by $0.01. WEC Energy Group had a return on equity of 10.52% and a net margin of 12.13%. The company earned $1.60 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.03 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.58 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 61.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts expect that WEC Energy Group will post $2.93 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, EVP Robert M. Garvin sold 19,225 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.62, for a total value of $1,184,644.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 27,710 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,707,490.20. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, VP Susan H. Martin sold 40,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.05, for a total value of $2,602,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.81% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Farmers & Merchants Investments Inc. increased its position in WEC Energy Group by 16.8% in the third quarter. Farmers & Merchants Investments Inc. now owns 99,855 shares of the company’s stock valued at $5,979,000 after buying an additional 14,374 shares during the last quarter. CHURCHILL MANAGEMENT Corp increased its position in WEC Energy Group by 13.6% in the third quarter. CHURCHILL MANAGEMENT Corp now owns 240,286 shares of the company’s stock valued at $14,388,000 after buying an additional 28,691 shares during the last quarter. First Quadrant L P CA increased its position in WEC Energy Group by 1.6% in the third quarter. First Quadrant L P CA now owns 120,800 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,234,000 after buying an additional 1,900 shares during the last quarter. Somerset Trust Co increased its position in WEC Energy Group by 3.5% in the third quarter. Somerset Trust Co now owns 10,686 shares of the company’s stock valued at $640,000 after buying an additional 358 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Rothschild Investment Corp IL increased its position in WEC Energy Group by 2.0% in the third quarter. Rothschild Investment Corp IL now owns 28,009 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,677,000 after buying an additional 547 shares during the last quarter. 70.65% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

WEC Energy Group Company Profile

WEC Energy Group, Inc, formerly Wisconsin Energy Corporation, is a holding company, which has electric and natural gas utility operations. The Company’s segments are Wisconsin, Illinois, other states, electric transmission, We Power, and corporate and other. The Company’s Wisconsin segment includes the electric and natural gas utility, and non-utility operations of Wisconsin Electric Power Company (Wisconsin Electric), Wisconsin Gas LLC (Wisconsin Gas) and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPS), including Wisconsin Electric’s electric and WPS’s electric and natural gas operations in the state of Michigan.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:WEC

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