American States Water Co. (NYSE:AWR) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “American States Water’s earnings per share in the third quarter of 2016 were ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate, thanks to strong contribution from its Water segment. American States Water Company’s strength lies in an expanding customer base, extensive water rights and strong credit ratings. The company is yet to expand its customer base as aggressively as some of its peers, who are resorting to inorganic means. This California focused water utility has the opportunity to spread operations via acquisitions. However its major drawback is its dependence on a single state, California, for the majority of its earnings. Plus its highly regulated operations, ongoing drought conditions in the state and risk of water contamination leading to increase in operating costs could adversely impact results.”

A number of other research firms also recently issued reports on AWR. Janney Montgomery Scott raised shares of American States Water from a “sell” rating to a “neutral” rating and raised their price objective for the stock from $35.00 to $39.00 in a report on Friday, August 5th. Barclays PLC dropped their price objective on shares of American States Water from $44.00 to $39.00 and set an “underweight” rating on the stock in a report on Tuesday, September 6th.

American States Water (NYSE:AWR) opened at 39.598 on Tuesday. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $39.05 and a 200-day moving average of $40.55. American States Water has a one year low of $37.28 and a one year high of $47.24. The company has a market cap of $1.45 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.610 and a beta of 0.40.

American States Water (NYSE:AWR) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, November 2nd. The company reported $0.59 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.58 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $123.81 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $137.14 million. American States Water had a net margin of 13.69% and a return on equity of 12.65%. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 6.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.56 EPS. On average, equities analysts predict that American States Water will post $1.64 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 1st. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, November 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.242 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, November 10th. This represents a $0.97 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.43%. This is an increase from American States Water’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.22. American States Water’s payout ratio is currently 55.22%.

In other American States Water news, Director Anne M. Holloway sold 986 shares of American States Water stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $40.01, for a total transaction of $39,449.86. Following the transaction, the director now owns 41,583 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,663,735.83. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Diana M. Bonta sold 980 shares of American States Water stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $39.62, for a total transaction of $38,827.60. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 23,972 shares in the company, valued at approximately $949,770.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 1.43% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. boosted its stake in American States Water by 0.3% in the first quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 929,990 shares of the company’s stock valued at $36,604,000 after buying an additional 2,402 shares during the last quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. boosted its stake in American States Water by 35.4% in the second quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 27,143 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,190,000 after buying an additional 7,092 shares during the last quarter. Princeton Alpha Management LP bought a new stake in American States Water during the second quarter valued at about $331,000. UBS Group AG boosted its stake in American States Water by 22.4% in the first quarter. UBS Group AG now owns 120,868 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,758,000 after buying an additional 22,092 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Capstone Asset Management Co. boosted its stake in American States Water by 2.3% in the second quarter. Capstone Asset Management Co. now owns 11,552 shares of the company’s stock valued at $506,000 after buying an additional 260 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 63.72% of the company’s stock.

About American States Water

American States Water Company (AWR) is a holding company. The Company is the parent company of Golden State Water Company (GSWC) and American States Utility Services, Inc (ASUS), as well as various subsidiaries of ASUS. The Company’s segments include water, electric and contracted services. Within the segments, AWR has two principal business units, water and electric service utility operations, conducted through GSWC, and contracted services conducted through ASUS and its subsidiaries.

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