Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Duke Energy’s hefty investment plans for the next five years is expected to improve its business by generating cleaner energy and bolstering its renewable asset base, buoys optimism. The acquisition of Piedmont Natural Gas is also expected to offer substantial boost to its business. Duke Energy also pursues a systematic asset divestment initiative. Moreover, it outperformed the broader industry in the last year. Yet, stringent environmental regulations, severe weather patterns and foreign exchange risks may hinder Duke Energy’s performance. Further, adverse outcome from pending regulatory cases may also negatively impact its earnings. Potential volatility in market prices of fuel, electricity and other renewable energy commodities could create operational risks for the company.”

Other analysts have also issued reports about the stock. BMO Capital Markets restated a “hold” rating and issued a $85.00 price objective on shares of Duke Energy Corporation in a report on Wednesday, May 10th. Morgan Stanley lifted their target price on shares of Duke Energy Corporation from $87.00 to $89.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a report on Thursday, August 10th. Deutsche Bank AG reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $84.00 target price (up from $83.00) on shares of Duke Energy Corporation in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Duke Energy Corporation from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, July 24th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $87.00 target price on shares of Duke Energy Corporation in a report on Tuesday. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. Duke Energy Corporation has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $82.91.

Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE DUK) opened at 87.30 on Wednesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $61.11 billion, a P/E ratio of 25.86 and a beta of 0.24. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $85.78 and its 200-day moving average price is $83.76. Duke Energy Corporation has a 1-year low of $72.34 and a 1-year high of $87.75.

Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 3rd. The utilities provider reported $1.01 EPS for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.01. Duke Energy Corporation had a net margin of 9.89% and a return on equity of 7.72%. The business had revenue of $5.56 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.76 billion. During the same period last year, the business posted $1.07 earnings per share. Duke Energy Corporation’s quarterly revenue was up 6.6% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts expect that Duke Energy Corporation will post $4.60 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, EVP Douglas F. Esamann sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $86.22, for a total transaction of $431,100.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 50,316 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,338,245.52. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. 0.07% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Duke Energy Corporation by 3.2% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 50,043,241 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $4,183,115,000 after buying an additional 1,572,216 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in shares of Duke Energy Corporation by 1.2% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 43,215,514 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,612,384,000 after buying an additional 506,596 shares during the period. State Street Corp increased its stake in shares of Duke Energy Corporation by 1.3% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 33,919,431 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,781,737,000 after buying an additional 451,100 shares during the period. Federated Investors Inc. PA increased its stake in shares of Duke Energy Corporation by 1.5% in the second quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA now owns 9,473,847 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $791,919,000 after buying an additional 141,551 shares during the period. Finally, Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA increased its stake in shares of Duke Energy Corporation by 33.1% in the first quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 9,422,063 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $772,704,000 after buying an additional 2,345,114 shares during the period. 56.22% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Duke Energy Corporation

Duke Energy Corporation (Duke Energy) is an energy company. The Company operates through three segments: Electric Utilities and Infrastructure; Gas Utilities and Infrastructure, and Commercial Renewables. The Company operates in the United States through its direct and indirect subsidiaries. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure segment provides retail electric service through the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 7.5 million customers within the Southeast and Midwest regions of the United States.

Analyst Recommendations for Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK)

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