NorthWestern Corp. (NYSE:NWE) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Tuesday. The firm presently has a $66.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s target price suggests a potential upside of 17.65% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Northwestern Corporation d/b/a NorthWestern Energy is an investor-owned utility and one of the largest providers of electricity and natural gas in the northwest quadrant of the United States. NorthWestern was incorporated in Delaware in November 1923, and since has generated and distributed electricity in South Dakota and distributed natural gas in South Dakota and Nebraska through their energy division, NorthWestern Energy. “

A number of other equities analysts have also commented on NWE. Mizuho decreased their price target on shares of NorthWestern Corp. from $65.00 to $60.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, October 20th. Williams Capital raised shares of NorthWestern Corp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $58.00 price target on the stock in a report on Monday, October 10th.

NorthWestern Corp. (NYSE:NWE) opened at 56.10 on Tuesday. NorthWestern Corp. has a 12-month low of $51.95 and a 12-month high of $63.75. The firm has a market cap of $2.71 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.71 and a beta of 0.34. The company has a 50-day moving average of $56.31 and a 200 day moving average of $58.54.

NorthWestern Corp. (NYSE:NWE) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 20th. The company reported $0.68 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.58 by $0.10. The firm had revenue of $301 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $282.30 million. NorthWestern Corp. had a net margin of 13.04% and a return on equity of 9.94%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 10.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.51 EPS. Equities analysts expect that NorthWestern Corp. will post $3.20 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 30th. Investors of record on Thursday, December 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.50 per share. This represents a $2.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.57%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, December 13th. NorthWestern Corp.’s dividend payout ratio is currently 59.52%.

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In related news, CEO Robert C. Rowe sold 3,011 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, November 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $58.00, for a total transaction of $174,638.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 130,960 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,595,680. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 1.34% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Prudential Financial Inc. raised its position in NorthWestern Corp. by 1.7% in the second quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 127,259 shares of the company’s stock valued at $8,026,000 after buying an additional 2,120 shares in the last quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. raised its position in NorthWestern Corp. by 14.1% in the third quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. now owns 34,783 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,001,000 after buying an additional 4,300 shares in the last quarter. Personal Capital Advisors Corp raised its position in NorthWestern Corp. by 12.7% in the second quarter. Personal Capital Advisors Corp now owns 325,900 shares of the company’s stock valued at $20,555,000 after buying an additional 36,792 shares in the last quarter. Genesee Valley Trust Co. acquired a new position in NorthWestern Corp. during the second quarter valued at approximately $209,000. Finally, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY raised its position in NorthWestern Corp. by 0.3% in the first quarter. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY now owns 64,802 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,002,000 after buying an additional 219 shares in the last quarter. 97.31% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About NorthWestern Corp.

NorthWestern Corporation, doing business as North-Western Energy, provides electricity and natural gas. The Company provides electricity and natural gas to over 701,000 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. It generates and distributes electricity in South Dakota; distributes natural gas in South Dakota and Nebraska, and generates and distributes electricity and distributed natural gas in Montana.

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