Jefferies Group LLC upgraded shares of Southwest Gas Corporation (NYSE:SWX) from an underperform rating to a hold rating in a report released on Wednesday, July 12th, Marketbeat.com reports. The firm currently has $70.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock, up from their previous target price of $68.00. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Southwest Gas Corporation’s FY2017 earnings at $3.34 EPS, FY2018 earnings at $3.61 EPS, FY2020 earnings at $3.91 EPS and FY2021 earnings at $4.15 EPS.

Several other research firms have also recently weighed in on SWX. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Southwest Gas Corporation from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, April 14th. BidaskClub raised shares of Southwest Gas Corporation from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a report on Tuesday, July 11th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and five have given a hold rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $80.50.

Shares of Southwest Gas Corporation (NYSE SWX) opened at 80.37 on Wednesday. The company’s 50-day moving average is $76.89 and its 200 day moving average is $80.58. The firm has a market cap of $3.82 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.33 and a beta of 0.60. Southwest Gas Corporation has a 1-year low of $64.26 and a 1-year high of $86.65.

Southwest Gas Corporation (NYSE:SWX) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Monday, August 7th. The utilities provider reported $0.37 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.28 by $0.09. Southwest Gas Corporation had a net margin of 6.12% and a return on equity of 8.65%. The business had revenue of $560.50 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $564.84 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.19 earnings per share. Southwest Gas Corporation’s revenue was up 2.3% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts expect that Southwest Gas Corporation will post $3.38 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, SVP Eric Debonis sold 350 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $80.02, for a total value of $28,007.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 20,057 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,604,961.14. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. 1.34% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in Southwest Gas Corporation by 5,500.3% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 5,796,013 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $480,546,000 after buying an additional 5,692,518 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in Southwest Gas Corporation by 19.0% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 5,332,229 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $442,095,000 after buying an additional 849,583 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank bought a new stake in shares of Southwest Gas Corporation during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $46,229,000. Bank of America Corp DE increased its stake in shares of Southwest Gas Corporation by 74.8% in the first quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 635,225 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $52,667,000 after buying an additional 271,826 shares during the period. Finally, AQR Capital Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Southwest Gas Corporation by 34.0% in the first quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 725,020 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $60,111,000 after buying an additional 184,040 shares during the period. 78.55% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Southwest Gas Corporation

Southwest Gas Holdings, Inc, formerly Southwest Gas Corporation, is engaged in the business of purchasing, distributing and transporting natural gas. The Company operates through two segments: natural gas operations and construction services, which includes the operations of the Company’s subsidiary, Centuri Construction Group, Inc (Centuri).

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