Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE:WR) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Westar Energy, Inc. is Kansas’ largest electric utility. Westar has 7,200 MW of electric generation capacity fueled by coal, uranium, natural gas, wind and landfill gas. They are a leader in electric transmission in Kansas. Their innovative customer service programs include mobile-enabled customer care, digital meters and paving the way for electric vehicle adoption. “

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on the stock. J P Morgan Chase & Co set a $58.00 target price on shares of Westar Energy and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Thursday. Wells Fargo & Company upgraded shares of Westar Energy from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and set a $55.00 target price for the company in a research report on Monday, October 2nd. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Westar Energy from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Saturday, August 5th. Wolfe Research initiated coverage on shares of Westar Energy in a research report on Wednesday, July 26th. They issued an outperform rating for the company. Finally, Evercore ISI upgraded shares of Westar Energy from an in-line rating to an outperform rating and raised their price objective for the company from $49.00 to $53.00 in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $55.33.

Westar Energy (NYSE WR) opened at 52.06 on Thursday. Westar Energy has a 52-week low of $49.20 and a 52-week high of $57.50. The company has a market cap of $7.40 billion, a PE ratio of 21.87 and a beta of 0.39. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $50.75 and a 200 day moving average of $51.88.

Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, August 8th. The utilities provider reported $0.50 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.56 by ($0.06). The firm had revenue of $609.32 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates 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 last year, the business earned $0.51 EPS. Equities research analysts expect that Westar Energy will post $2.50 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

COPYRIGHT VIOLATION WARNING: This article was originally reported by The Cerbat Gem and is the sole property of of The Cerbat Gem. If you are accessing this article on another website, it was illegally copied and reposted in violation of United States and international trademark and copyright law. The legal version of this article can be read at https://www.thecerbatgem.com/2017/10/16/westar-energy-inc-wr-lifted-to-hold-at-zacks-investment-research.html.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, October 2nd. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 8th were given a $0.40 dividend. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.07%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, September 7th. Westar Energy’s payout ratio is presently 67.23%.

In other news, SVP Greg A. Greenwood sold 10,000 shares of Westar Energy stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.00, for a total transaction of $510,000.00. 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 4,000 shares of Westar Energy stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.21, for a total transaction of $204,840.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 31,500 shares of company stock valued at $1,611,715 in the last 90 days. Corporate insiders own 0.70% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in shares of Westar Energy by 19.3% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 16,587,206 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $879,454,000 after buying an additional 2,679,597 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its position in shares of Westar Energy by 1.5% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 12,610,777 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $668,624,000 after buying an additional 186,563 shares during the period. State Street Corp grew its position in shares of Westar Energy by 1.7% during the 1st quarter. State Street Corp now owns 4,690,842 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $254,580,000 after buying an additional 79,734 shares during the period. American Century Companies Inc. grew its position in shares of Westar Energy by 365.2% during the 2nd quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 4,057,368 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $215,122,000 after buying an additional 3,185,194 shares during the period. Finally, CNH Partners LLC grew its position in shares of Westar Energy by 8.2% during the 2nd quarter. CNH Partners LLC now owns 3,428,377 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $181,773,000 after buying an additional 260,631 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 73.65% of the company’s stock.

About Westar Energy

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.

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Westar Energy (WR)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Receive News & Stock Ratings for Westar Energy Inc. Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Westar Energy Inc. and related stocks with our FREE daily email newsletter.