Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Chesapeake Utilities (NYSE:CPK) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report report published on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Chesapeake Utilities Corporation is a utility company engaged in natural gas distribution and transmission, propane distribution and marketing, advanced information services and other related businesses.Chesapeake’s three natural gas distribution divisions serve residential, commercial and industrial customers in southern Delaware, Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Florida. The Company’s natural gas transmission subsidiary operates an interstate pipeline system that transports gas from various points in Pennsylvania to Delaware and Maryland distribution divisions. “

Separately, Sidoti started coverage on Chesapeake Utilities in a report on Wednesday, October 18th. They issued a neutral rating and a $85.00 target price for the company.

Chesapeake Utilities (NYSE CPK) opened at $72.65 on Wednesday. Chesapeake Utilities has a fifty-two week low of $63.00 and a fifty-two week high of $86.35. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43, a current ratio of 0.44 and a quick ratio of 0.39. The stock has a market capitalization of $1,187.39, a PE ratio of 27.01, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.57 and a beta of 0.26.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, January 5th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 15th were paid a $0.325 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, December 14th. This represents a $1.30 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.79%. Chesapeake Utilities’s payout ratio is 48.33%.

In other news, insider John R. Schimkaitis sold 2,500 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, January 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $76.65, for a total value of $191,625.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Thomas P. Hill, Jr. purchased 1,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, December 21st. The stock was bought at an average cost of $75.62 per share, with a total value of $75,620.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Corporate insiders own 4.16% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Advisory Services Network LLC increased its stake in shares of Chesapeake Utilities by 1.2% in the second quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 2,985 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $224,000 after buying an additional 34 shares during the period. Legal & General Group Plc increased its stake in shares of Chesapeake Utilities by 2.4% in the second quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 3,865 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $290,000 after buying an additional 90 shares during the period. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company increased its stake in shares of Chesapeake Utilities by 1.0% in the second quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 12,280 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $921,000 after buying an additional 127 shares during the period. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. increased its stake in shares of Chesapeake Utilities by 11.9% in the second quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. now owns 1,388 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $104,000 after buying an additional 148 shares during the period. Finally, Rhumbline Advisers increased its stake in shares of Chesapeake Utilities by 1.1% in the second quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 19,125 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,433,000 after buying an additional 202 shares during the period. 62.16% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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About Chesapeake Utilities

Chesapeake Utilities Corporation (Chesapeake) is an energy company. The Company operates through two segments: Regulated Energy and Unregulated Energy. The Company provides natural gas distribution and transmission; natural gas supply, gathering, processing and marketing; electric distribution and generation; propane distribution; propane and crude oil wholesale marketing; steam generation, and other energy-related services.

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