Allete, Inc. (NYSE:ALE) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report released on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “ALLETE is an energy company. In addition to its electric utilities, Minnesota Power and Superior Water, Light and Power of Wisconsin, ALLETE owns ALLETE Clean Energy, based in Duluth, U.S. Water Services headquartered in St. Michael, Minn., BNI Energy in Center, N.D., and has an eight percent equity interest in the American Transmission Co. “

Several other equities analysts also recently issued reports on the stock. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Allete from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, September 7th. Williams Capital increased their target price on shares of Allete from $75.00 to $78.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, June 19th. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services increased their target price on shares of Allete from $71.00 to $77.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, June 9th. Finally, BidaskClub downgraded shares of Allete from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 12th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating, two have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. Allete presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $78.67.

Shares of Allete (ALE) traded up 1.21% during trading on Wednesday, reaching $78.49. The company had a trading volume of 187,292 shares. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $77.15 and a 200 day moving average of $72.61. Allete has a 1-year low of $56.48 and a 1-year high of $79.61. The firm has a market capitalization of $4.00 billion, a PE ratio of 23.09 and a beta of 0.48.

Allete (NYSE:ALE) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.72 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.55 by $0.17. Allete had a net margin of 12.09% and a return on equity of 9.21%. The company had revenue of $353.30 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $342.50 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.50 earnings per share. Allete’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.2% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts expect that Allete will post $3.38 earnings per share for the current year.

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In other news, Director Madeleine W. Ludlow sold 2,500 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $74.83, for a total transaction of $187,075.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. 0.42% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Lord Abbett & CO. LLC purchased a new position in Allete during the second quarter worth about $6,702,000. USA Financial Portformulas Corp purchased a new position in Allete during the second quarter worth about $294,000. WFG Advisors LP raised its holdings in Allete by 1.7% during the second quarter. WFG Advisors LP now owns 16,576 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,188,000 after purchasing an additional 283 shares in the last quarter. Cetera Investment Advisers raised its holdings in Allete by 0.7% during the second quarter. Cetera Investment Advisers now owns 4,883 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $350,000 after purchasing an additional 35 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Banco BTG Pactual S.A. purchased a new position in Allete during the second quarter worth about $1,971,000. 70.99% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Allete

ALLETE, Inc is an energy company. The Company’s segments include Regulated Operations, ALLETE Clean Energy, Inc (ALLETE Clean Energy), U.S. Water Services Holding Company (U.S. Water Services), and Corporate and Other. The Regulated Operations segment includes its regulated utilities, Minnesota Power, and Superior Water, Light and Power Company, and its investment in American Transmission Company LLC.

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