American Water Works (NYSE:AWK) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Monday. The brokerage presently has a $83.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price target indicates a potential upside of 11.62% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Share price of American Water Works Company trailed the return of the broader industry in the last twelve months. 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 research firms have also issued reports on AWK. Bank of America Corp. upgraded shares of American Water Works from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their target price for the company from $77.00 to $84.00 in a research report on Wednesday, November 9th. Vetr upgraded shares of American Water Works from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $79.67 target price for the company in a research report on Thursday, November 10th. Robert W. Baird initiated coverage on shares of American Water Works in a research report on Friday, October 14th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $82.00 target price for the company. Finally, Barclays PLC decreased their target price on shares of American Water Works from $87.00 to $81.00 and set an “overweight” rating for the company in a research report on Tuesday, September 6th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. American Water Works has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $79.08.

Analyst Recommendations for American Water Works (NYSE:AWK)

American Water Works (NYSE:AWK) opened at 74.36 on Monday. The stock has a market capitalization of $13.24 billion, a PE ratio of 28.61 and a beta of 0.23. American Water Works has a 52-week low of $56.40 and a 52-week high of $85.24. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $72.01 and its 200 day moving average price is $76.05.

American Water Works (NYSE:AWK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, November 2nd. The company reported $1.05 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.01 by $0.04. The firm earned $930 million during 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%. The company’s revenue was up 3.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.96 earnings per share. Equities analysts forecast 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. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, November 9th will be paid a $0.375 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, November 7th. This represents a $1.50 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.02%. American Water Works’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 57.47%.

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Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. New York State Teachers Retirement System raised its stake in American Water Works by 2.2% in the second quarter. New York State Teachers Retirement System now owns 281,163 shares of the company’s stock worth $23,761,000 after buying an additional 5,972 shares during the period. PGGM Investments raised its stake in American Water Works by 126.7% in the second quarter. PGGM Investments now owns 730,189 shares of the company’s stock worth $61,708,000 after buying an additional 408,115 shares during the period. LGT Capital Partners LTD. raised its stake in shares of American Water Works by 12.7% in the third quarter. LGT Capital Partners LTD. now owns 213,730 shares of the company’s stock worth $15,996,000 after buying an additional 24,120 shares during the last quarter. Whittier Trust Co. raised its stake in shares of American Water Works by 3.9% in the second quarter. Whittier Trust Co. now owns 276,532 shares of the company’s stock worth $23,370,000 after buying an additional 10,414 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Trillium Asset Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of American Water Works during the second quarter worth $12,293,000. 79.10% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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