American Water Works (NYSE:AWK) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “American Water Works’ is benefiting from its consistent investments in regulated operations and contribution from the acquired assets. The company’s inorganic growth strategy has been of great help, enabling it to add 10,700 customers to the existing base year to date. We believe consolidation is the need of the hour in the fragmented U.S. water utility space. A favorable rate hike decision is also helping the company to execute infrastructural development activities and pay regular dividends to shareholders. The company continues to improve its water and wastewater systems, which allows it to provide efficient services to its expanding customer base. However, stringent regulations, fluctuating weather patterns and risk of accidents due to old and soiled pipelines are persistent headwinds.”

Several other analysts also recently weighed in on the stock. Vetr raised shares of American Water Works from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $90.33 target price on the stock in a research report on Thursday, August 4th. Barclays PLC dropped their target price on shares of American Water Works from $87.00 to $81.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, September 6th. Robert W. Baird began coverage on shares of American Water Works in a report on Friday, October 14th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $82.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, Bank of America Corp. raised shares of American Water Works from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price objective for the company from $77.00 to $84.00 in a report on Wednesday, November 9th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $80.33.

Analyst Recommendations for American Water Works (NYSE:AWK)

Shares of American Water Works (NYSE:AWK) traded down 2.23% during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $72.49. 902,523 shares of the stock traded hands. The stock has a market cap of $12.90 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 27.89 and a beta of 0.23. American Water Works has a 12 month low of $56.40 and a 12 month high of $85.24. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $71.90 and a 200 day moving average of $76.05.

American Water Works (NYSE:AWK) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, November 2nd. The company reported $1.05 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.01 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $930 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $944.98 million. American Water Works had a net margin of 14.19% and a return on equity of 9.85%. American Water Works’s revenue was up 3.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.96 EPS. On average, equities analysts expect that American Water Works will post $2.85 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, November 9th will be issued a dividend of $0.375 per share. This represents a $1.50 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.07%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, November 7th. American Water Works’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 57.47%.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Arrow Financial Corp bought a new position in American Water Works during the third quarter worth $113,000. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. boosted its position in American Water Works by 488.3% in the second quarter. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. now owns 1,612 shares of the company’s stock worth $136,000 after buying an additional 1,338 shares in the last quarter. Washington Trust Bank boosted its position in American Water Works by 1.0% in the third quarter. Washington Trust Bank now owns 2,093 shares of the company’s stock worth $157,000 after buying an additional 21 shares in the last quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC boosted its position in American Water Works by 0.4% in the second quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 2,310 shares of the company’s stock worth $195,000 after buying an additional 10 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Tower Research Capital LLC TRC bought a new position in American Water Works during the second quarter worth $197,000. 80.33% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About American Water Works

American Water Works Company, Inc is a holding company. The Company is a water and wastewater utility company. The Company operates through two segments: the Regulated Businesses and the Market-Based Businesses. Its Regulated Businesses segment involves the ownership of subsidiaries that provide water and wastewater utility services to residential, commercial, industrial and other customers, including sale for resale and public authority customers.

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