NorthWestern Corporation (NYSE:NWE) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Friday, July 7th. The brokerage currently has a $68.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target indicates a potential upside of 11.60% from the company’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 research firms have also weighed in on NWE. BidaskClub upgraded shares of NorthWestern Corporation from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Saturday, June 17th. Williams Capital upped their target price on shares of NorthWestern Corporation from $58.00 to $61.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, April 28th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and two have assigned a hold rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Sell” and a consensus target price of $60.00.

Shares of NorthWestern Corporation (NYSE:NWE) traded up 1.08% during trading on Friday, hitting $60.93. The stock had a trading volume of 391,332 shares. NorthWestern Corporation has a 1-year low of $53.85 and a 1-year high of $63.86. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $60.96 and a 200 day moving average of $59.47. The company has a market capitalization of $2.95 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.67 and a beta of 0.36.

NorthWestern Corporation (NYSE:NWE) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, July 25th. The utilities provider reported $0.47 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.62 by $0.15. NorthWestern Corporation had a return on equity of 9.31% and a net margin of 13.17%. The business had revenue of $283.86 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $302.42 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.65 EPS. The company’s revenue was down 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts predict that NorthWestern Corporation will post $3.39 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In other NorthWestern Corporation news, VP Patrick R. Corcoran sold 7,487 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, June 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.72, for a total value of $469,584.64. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 13,259 shares in the company, valued at approximately $831,604.48. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, CEO Robert C. Rowe sold 7,252 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, May 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $60.89, for a total transaction of $441,574.28. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 1.33% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in NWE. Russell Investments Group Ltd. bought a new position in NorthWestern Corporation during the fourth quarter worth $4,320,000. Comerica Bank increased its position in NorthWestern Corporation by 6.0% in the fourth quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 36,190 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,069,000 after buying an additional 2,045 shares in the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its position in NorthWestern Corporation by 0.6% in the fourth quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 952,880 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $54,191,000 after buying an additional 6,130 shares in the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC increased its position in NorthWestern Corporation by 116.3% in the fourth quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 95,400 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $5,425,000 after buying an additional 51,300 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Envestnet Asset Management Inc. increased its position in NorthWestern Corporation by 0.8% in the fourth quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 3,868 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $222,000 after buying an additional 29 shares in the last quarter. 94.33% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About NorthWestern Corporation

NorthWestern Corporation, doing business as North-Western Energy, provides electricity and natural gas. The Company’s segments are Electric operations, Natural gas operations and All other. As of December 31, 2016, the Company provided electricity and natural gas to approximately 709,600 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.

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