Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of WGL Holdings Inc (NYSE:WGL) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note published on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “WASHINGTON GAS LIGHT CO is a public utility that delivers and sells natural gas to metropolitan Washington, D.C. and adjoining areas in Maryland and Virginia. A distribution subsidiary serves portions of Virginia and West Virginia. The Company has four wholly-owned active subsidiaries that include: Shenandoah Gas Company (Shenandoah) is engaged in the delivery and sale of natural gas at retail in the Shenandoah Valley, including Winchester, Middletown, Strasburg, Stephens City and New Market, Virginia, and Martinsburg, West Virginia. “

Other analysts also recently issued reports about the company. BidaskClub upgraded WGL Holdings from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, June 23rd. Hilliard Lyons upgraded WGL Holdings from an underperform rating to a neutral rating in a research report on Tuesday, August 29th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and five have given a hold rating to the company’s stock. WGL Holdings currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $74.67.

WGL Holdings (WGL) opened at 84.72 on Thursday. WGL Holdings has a one year low of $58.66 and a one year high of $86.89. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $84.33 and a 200-day moving average price of $83.65. The stock has a market cap of $4.34 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.13 and a beta of 0.68.

WGL Holdings (NYSE:WGL) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.26 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.27 by ($0.01). WGL Holdings had a net margin of 7.60% and a return on equity of 11.76%. The firm had revenue of $474.36 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $477.01 million. During the same period last year, the company posted $0.33 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts predict that WGL Holdings will post $3.21 earnings per share for the current year.

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The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 1st. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, October 10th will be given a $0.51 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, October 6th. This represents a $2.04 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.41%. WGL Holdings’s dividend payout ratio is currently 58.12%.

In other news, Director Debra L. Lee sold 2,122 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, September 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $84.00, for a total value of $178,248.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. 1.09% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Driehaus Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in WGL Holdings during the first quarter worth about $3,514,000. Bank of America Corp DE lifted its position in WGL Holdings by 3.5% during the first quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 218,575 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $18,039,000 after buying an additional 7,426 shares during the period. State of Wisconsin Investment Board lifted its position in WGL Holdings by 79.2% during the second quarter. State of Wisconsin Investment Board now owns 78,500 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $6,549,000 after buying an additional 34,700 shares during the period. Prudential Financial Inc. lifted its position in WGL Holdings by 13.2% during the first quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 47,868 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,951,000 after buying an additional 5,590 shares during the period. Finally, Paloma Partners Management Co purchased a new position in WGL Holdings during the first quarter worth about $337,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 69.05% of the company’s stock.

About WGL Holdings

WGL Holdings, Inc (WGL) is a holding company. The Company operates through four segments. The Regulated Utility segment consists of Washington Gas Light Company, which provides regulated gas distribution services to end use customers and natural gas transportation services to an unaffiliated natural gas distribution company and Hampshire Gas Company, which provides regulated interstate natural gas storage services.

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