Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Aqua America, Inc. (NYSE:WTR) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report report published on Tuesday. The firm currently has $38.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Aqua America already expanded its customer base through acquisitions during the first half of 2017. It aims to increase its customer level by 1.5-2% in 2017 through strategic acquisitions and organic initiatives. Rate hikes are boosting its earnings and the company is continuing with its infrastructural strengthening initiatives.The company aims to make capital investments of over $450 million in 2017, which is part of an ambitious investment target of more than $1.2 billion in the 2017-2019 period. However, Aqua America, like other water utilities runs the risk of contamination of water sources, which could raise its operating costs while fluctuating weather conditions might dampen demand for water.”

WTR has been the subject of several other reports. Robert W. Baird reiterated a hold rating and set a $32.00 price target on shares of Aqua America in a research report on Friday, August 25th. BidaskClub lowered Aqua America from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, July 6th. Barclays PLC lifted their target price on shares of Aqua America from $36.00 to $38.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research note on Friday, September 22nd. Finally, Boenning Scattergood reaffirmed an outperform rating on shares of Aqua America in a research note on Tuesday, September 5th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company. Aqua America has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $36.00.

Aqua America (WTR) traded up 0.33% during trading on Tuesday, reaching $33.88. 42,315 shares of the company traded hands. Aqua America has a 52 week low of $28.03 and a 52 week high of $34.66. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $33.72 and a 200-day moving average price of $33.07. The company has a market capitalization of $6.02 billion, a P/E ratio of 25.86 and a beta of 0.54.

Aqua America (NYSE:WTR) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.34 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.34. Aqua America had a return on equity of 12.51% and a net margin of 28.59%. The company had revenue of $203.40 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $208.28 million. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.33 EPS. Aqua America’s revenue was down .2% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts forecast that Aqua America will post $1.36 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In other Aqua America news, insider Robert A. Rubin sold 12,499 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, September 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $34.46, for a total value of $430,715.54. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 80,604 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,777,613.84. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 0.25% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Aqua America by 53.3% during the 1st quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 153,933 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $4,949,000 after buying an additional 53,537 shares during the last quarter. Sei Investments Co. lifted its stake in shares of Aqua America by 2.6% in the 1st quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 11,812 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $380,000 after purchasing an additional 296 shares during the last quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Aqua America by 3.8% in the 1st quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 515,462 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $16,571,000 after purchasing an additional 18,856 shares during the last quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC lifted its stake in shares of Aqua America by 48.1% in the 1st quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 304,542 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $9,791,000 after purchasing an additional 98,868 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Trexquant Investment LP acquired a new position in shares of Aqua America in the 1st quarter valued at $208,000. 51.02% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Aqua America Company Profile

Aqua America, Inc is a holding company. The Company is engaged in providing water or wastewater services concentrated in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, North Carolina, New Jersey, Indiana and Virginia. The Company is the holding company for its primary subsidiary, Aqua Pennsylvania, Inc Its market-based activities are conducted through Aqua Resources, Inc (Aqua Resources) and Aqua Infrastructure, LLC (Aqua Infrastructure).

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