Wells Fargo & Company upgraded shares of Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE:WR) from a market perform rating to an outperform rating in a report released on Monday morning, MarketBeat Ratings reports. The firm currently has $55.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock.

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. J P Morgan Chase & Co upgraded Westar Energy from a neutral rating to an overweight rating and boosted their target price for the stock from $32.00 to $53.00 in a research note on Tuesday, July 11th. Wolfe Research assumed coverage on Westar Energy in a research note on Wednesday, July 26th. They set an outperform rating for the company. BidaskClub cut Westar Energy from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 19th. Evercore ISI upgraded Westar Energy from an in-line rating to an outperform rating and boosted their target price for the stock from $49.00 to $53.00 in a research note on Tuesday, July 11th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Westar Energy from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Saturday, September 23rd. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $53.67.

Westar Energy (WR) opened at 50.63 on Monday. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $50.72 and its 200 day moving average is $52.04. The firm has a market cap of $7.19 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.27 and a beta of 0.39. Westar Energy has a 12-month low of $49.20 and a 12-month high of $57.50.

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, August 8th. The utilities provider reported $0.50 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.56 by ($0.06). The business had revenue of $609.32 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $633.96 million. Westar Energy had a return on equity of 8.87% and a net margin of 13.33%. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.51 EPS. On average, equities research analysts expect that Westar Energy will post $2.50 EPS for the current year.

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The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, October 2nd. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 8th were paid a $0.40 dividend. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.16%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, September 7th. Westar Energy’s dividend payout ratio is currently 67.23%.

In other Westar Energy news, VP Larry D. Irick sold 10,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.17, for a total value of $511,700.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, CFO Anthony D. Somma sold 2,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.07, for a total value of $127,675.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 31,500 shares of company stock valued at $1,611,715. 0.70% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. D.A. Davidson & CO. lifted its stake in Westar Energy by 6.6% in the second quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 3,240 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $171,000 after buying an additional 202 shares during the last quarter. V Wealth Management LLC purchased a new stake in Westar Energy in the second quarter valued at approximately $187,000. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd purchased a new stake in Westar Energy in the first quarter valued at approximately $233,000. Sii Investments Inc. WI lifted its stake in Westar Energy by 4.9% in the first quarter. Sii Investments Inc. WI now owns 4,495 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $242,000 after buying an additional 211 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Segall Bryant & Hamill LLC purchased a new stake in Westar Energy in the first quarter valued at approximately $246,000. Institutional investors own 73.65% of the company’s stock.

Westar Energy Company Profile

Westar Energy, Inc is an electric utility. The Company provides electric generation, transmission and distribution services. The Company provides these services in central and northeastern Kansas, including the cities of Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan, Salina and Hutchinson. Its subsidiary, Kansas Gas and Electric Company (KGE), provides these services in south-central and southeastern Kansas, including the city of Wichita.

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