Zacks Investment Research cut shares of FirstEnergy Corporation (NYSE:FE) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of FirstEnergy's have gained higher than the industry in the last three months. FirstEnergy’s modernization drive and new generation asset additions have led to its ambitious “Energizing the Future” plan aimed at upgrading and expanding its transmission capabilities. FirstEnergy is also gaining from industrial load growth. The company is working to transform itself into a regulated company by mid of 2018. It has secured regulatory approvals for base rate increase in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio which are expected to boost its top line in 2017. However, FirstEnergy’s higher debt/capital ratio compared with peers may further drive up its cost of capital in the rising interest rate environment. High competition in the wholesale and retail electric markets can affect its top line. In addition, stringent regulatory norms, mild weather and intensifying competition are some of the headwinds.”

FE has been the subject of a number of other research reports. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) downgraded shares of FirstEnergy Corporation from a positive rating to a neutral rating in a research report on Monday, June 26th. Evercore ISI raised shares of FirstEnergy Corporation from an in-line rating to an outperform rating and raised their target price for the company from $30.00 to $35.00 in a research report on Monday, August 14th. Tudor Pickering raised shares of FirstEnergy Corporation from a trim rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, July 14th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $33.00 target price (up previously from $31.00) on shares of FirstEnergy Corporation in a research report on Monday, July 31st. Finally, Wolfe Research raised shares of FirstEnergy Corporation from an underperform rating to a market perform rating and raised their target price for the company from $30.00 to $32.00 in a research report on Monday, June 26th. Fourteen research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. FirstEnergy Corporation currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $34.02.

FirstEnergy Corporation (FE) traded up 2.53% during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $30.83. 7,725,701 shares of the company traded hands. The firm’s market capitalization is $13.70 billion. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $32.26 and its 200-day moving average is $30.69. FirstEnergy Corporation has a 12-month low of $27.93 and a 12-month high of $34.87.

FirstEnergy Corporation (NYSE:FE) last released its earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The utilities provider reported $0.61 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.61. The business had revenue of $3.30 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.38 billion. FirstEnergy Corporation had a negative net margin of 35.59% and a positive return on equity of 15.41%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 3.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.56 earnings per share. Analysts anticipate that FirstEnergy Corporation will post $2.81 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 1st. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, November 7th will be paid a $0.36 dividend. This represents a $1.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.67%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, November 6th. FirstEnergy Corporation’s dividend payout ratio is currently -12.31%.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of FE. Patriot Financial Group Insurance Agency LLC lifted its stake in shares of FirstEnergy Corporation by 22.1% during the 2nd quarter. Patriot Financial Group Insurance Agency LLC now owns 3,633 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $106,000 after buying an additional 658 shares during the last quarter. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of FirstEnergy Corporation during the 1st quarter worth about $139,000. Sandy Spring Bank lifted its stake in shares of FirstEnergy Corporation by 1.3% during the 2nd quarter. Sandy Spring Bank now owns 5,141 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $150,000 after buying an additional 66 shares during the last quarter. City Holding Co. lifted its stake in shares of FirstEnergy Corporation by 8.2% during the 2nd quarter. City Holding Co. now owns 5,261 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $153,000 after buying an additional 400 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC acquired a new stake in shares of FirstEnergy Corporation during the 2nd quarter worth about $215,000. Institutional investors own 79.97% of the company’s stock.

About FirstEnergy Corporation

FirstEnergy Corp. is a holding company. The Company is engaged in holding, directly or indirectly, all of the outstanding equity of its principal subsidiaries. Its segments include Regulated Distribution, Regulated Transmission, Competitive Energy Services (CES) and Corporate/Other. As of December 31, 2016, the Regulated Distribution segment distributed electricity through the Company’s 10 utility operating companies, serving approximately six million customers, and purchased power for its provider of last resort (POLR), standard offer service (SOS), standard offer service (SSO) and default service requirements in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland.

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