Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of National Fuel Gas Co. (NYSE:NFG) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “National Fuel Gas Co. is engaged in the business of owning and holding securities issued by its subsidiary companies. The company is a diversified energy company consisting of the following six reportable business segments: Utility; Pipeline and Storage; Exploration and Production; International; Energy Marketing; and Timber. “

Other equities research analysts also recently issued reports about the company. Jefferies Group raised National Fuel Gas from a hold rating to a buy rating and lifted their price objective for the company from $60.00 to $67.00 in a report on Thursday, October 13th. Barclays PLC lifted their price objective on National Fuel Gas from $47.00 to $61.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a report on Wednesday, August 10th. Finally, Argus reissued a hold rating on shares of National Fuel Gas in a report on Thursday, October 13th. Seven analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the stock. National Fuel Gas currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $61.83.

Analyst Recommendations for National Fuel Gas (NYSE:NFG)

Shares of National Fuel Gas (NYSE:NFG) traded up 1.34% during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $54.40. 115,696 shares of the company traded hands. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $52.83 and a 200 day moving average price of $55.18. National Fuel Gas has a 1-year low of $37.03 and a 1-year high of $59.62. The firm’s market capitalization is $4.63 billion.

National Fuel Gas (NYSE:NFG) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 3rd. The company reported $0.66 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.53 by $0.13. The company had revenue of $292.50 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $355.89 million. National Fuel Gas had a positive return on equity of 16.27% and a negative net margin of 20.03%. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 2.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.41 earnings per share. Analysts expect that National Fuel Gas will post $3.01 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other National Fuel Gas news, Director David F. Smith sold 48,983 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, September 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.64, for a total transaction of $2,774,397.12. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 214,507 shares in the company, valued at approximately $12,149,676.48. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, COO John R. Pustulka sold 12,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, September 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.58, for a total transaction of $702,960.00. Following the sale, the chief operating officer now owns 65,077 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,812,210.66. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 3.25% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in NFG. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in shares of National Fuel Gas by 4.6% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 6,234,744 shares of the company’s stock valued at $354,632,000 after buying an additional 274,488 shares during the period. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its position in shares of National Fuel Gas by 4.8% in the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 3,958,110 shares of the company’s stock valued at $214,015,000 after buying an additional 181,812 shares during the period. BlackRock Fund Advisors raised its position in shares of National Fuel Gas by 3.9% in the third quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 3,190,211 shares of the company’s stock valued at $172,495,000 after buying an additional 119,343 shares during the period. Aristotle Capital Management LLC raised its position in shares of National Fuel Gas by 1.3% in the second quarter. Aristotle Capital Management LLC now owns 2,875,287 shares of the company’s stock valued at $163,546,000 after buying an additional 36,523 shares during the period. Finally, BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. raised its position in shares of National Fuel Gas by 0.9% in the third quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 2,463,980 shares of the company’s stock valued at $133,227,000 after buying an additional 22,091 shares during the period. 63.03% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About National Fuel Gas

National Fuel Gas Company is a holding company. The Company is an energy company engaged in the production, gathering, transportation, distribution and marketing of natural gas. The Company operates through five segments: Exploration and Production, including operations carried out through its subsidiary, Seneca Resources Corporation; Pipeline and Storage, including operations carried out through its subsidiaries, National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation and Empire Pipeline, Inc; Gathering, including operations carried out through subsidiaries of National Fuel Gas Midstream Corporation; Utility, including operations are carried out by through its subsidiary, Distribution Corporation, and Energy Marketing, including operations carried out through its subsidiary, National Fuel Resources, Inc The Company operates an integrated business, with assets centered in western New York and Pennsylvania.

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