Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of NiSource, Inc (NYSE:NI) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report report published on Friday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $29.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Year to date, shares of NiSource have gained higher than the industry it belongs to. NiSource is benefiting from continued execution of its infrastructure investment strategy.  NiSource will annually invest nearly $1.6–$1.8 billion in planned utility infrastructures from 2018 to 2020 and has identified long-term infrastructure investments worth $30 billion. Despite investing in upgrade programs, NiSource Inc. faces the risk of disruption in operation from its ageing infrastructure. NiSource’s rising debt level amid increasing interest rates is another concern.”

Other research analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. Wells Fargo & Company assumed coverage on shares of NiSource in a research report on Wednesday, August 9th. They set an outperform rating and a $30.00 target price for the company. Barclays PLC reissued an equal weight rating and set a $26.00 target price (up previously from $25.00) on shares of NiSource in a research report on Thursday, June 1st. Zelman & Associates lowered shares of NiSource from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 30th. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a hold rating and set a $23.00 target price on shares of NiSource in a research report on Friday, July 14th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group raised shares of NiSource from an underperform rating to an outperform rating and boosted their target price for the stock from $25.00 to $29.00 in a research report on Monday, August 14th. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. NiSource presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $26.72.

Shares of NiSource (NI) opened at 25.9025 on Friday. NiSource has a 52 week low of $21.17 and a 52 week high of $27.29. The firm has a market capitalization of $8.44 billion, a P/E ratio of 30.0493 and a beta of 0.39. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $26.75 and its 200 day moving average price is $25.30.

NiSource (NYSE:NI) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.10 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $0.10. NiSource had a net margin of 5.96% and a return on equity of 9.17%. The business had revenue of $990.70 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $934.95 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.09 EPS. On average, analysts predict that NiSource will post $1.19 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, November 20th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, October 31st will be given a dividend of $0.175 per share. This represents a $0.70 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.72%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, October 30th. NiSource’s dividend payout ratio is 81.40%.

In related news, Director Michael E. Jesanis acquired 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 14th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $26.44 per share, with a total value of $52,880.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 34,195 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $904,115.80. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. 0.35% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Marshall Wace North America L.P. raised its position in shares of NiSource by 304.9% during the second quarter. Marshall Wace North America L.P. now owns 142,287 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,557,000 after buying an additional 107,142 shares during the last quarter. Calamos Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of NiSource during the second quarter valued at about $4,326,000. State of Wisconsin Investment Board raised its position in shares of NiSource by 48.8% during the second quarter. State of Wisconsin Investment Board now owns 205,446 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $5,210,000 after buying an additional 67,360 shares during the last quarter. Arizona State Retirement System raised its position in shares of NiSource by 0.4% during the first quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 80,090 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,905,000 after buying an additional 300 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Schroder Investment Management Group acquired a new position in shares of NiSource during the second quarter valued at about $35,129,000. 81.96% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About NiSource

NiSource Inc is an energy holding company. The Company is engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Company operates through two business segments: Gas Distribution Operations and Electric Operations. The Company’s Gas Distribution Operations segment provides natural gas service and transportation for residential, commercial and industrial customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Indiana and Massachusetts.

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