Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Spire (NYSE:SR) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Saturday.

According to Zacks, “Spire Inc. is a public utility company which is engaged in the purchase, retail distribution, sale and marketing of natural gas. Its operating segment consists of Gas Utility and Gas Marketing. Gas Utility segment includes the regulated operations of Laclede Gas and Alabama Gas Corporation. Gas Marketing segment is engaged in the marketing of natural gas and related activities on a non-regulated basis. Spire Inc, formerly known as The Laclede Group Inc., is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. “

Several other research firms have also commented on SR. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased their target price on shares of Spire from $71.00 to $75.00 and gave the company an underweight rating in a report on Thursday, October 12th. Morgan Stanley increased their target price on shares of Spire from $75.00 to $77.00 and gave the company an underweight rating in a report on Wednesday, December 13th. Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $73.00 target price on shares of Spire in a report on Monday, October 16th. ValuEngine lowered shares of Spire from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Friday, December 1st. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus increased their target price on shares of Spire from $71.00 to $75.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Thursday, November 16th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and five have assigned a hold rating to the stock. Spire has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $74.67.

Spire (NYSE SR) traded up $0.25 during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $68.40. 205,710 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 168,601. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.00, a quick ratio of 0.46 and a current ratio of 0.66. Spire has a 52 week low of $62.33 and a 52 week high of $82.85. The company has a market cap of $3,303.38, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.79, a P/E/G ratio of 3.68 and a beta of 0.30.

Spire (NYSE:SR) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, November 15th. The utilities provider reported ($0.22) EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.26) by $0.04. Spire had a net margin of 9.28% and a return on equity of 8.71%. The company had revenue of $258.70 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $271.65 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned ($0.32) EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 7.4% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts predict that Spire will post 3.72 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, January 3rd. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 11th were given a dividend of $0.5625 per share. The ex-dividend date was Friday, December 8th. This represents a $2.25 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.29%. This is a boost from Spire’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.53. Spire’s dividend payout ratio is presently 63.92%.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in SR. Alliancebernstein L.P. boosted its position in Spire by 7.2% during the 2nd quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 69,876 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $4,874,000 after buying an additional 4,700 shares during the period. Teachers Advisors LLC boosted its position in Spire by 5.5% during the 2nd quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 86,722 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $6,049,000 after buying an additional 4,487 shares during the period. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC boosted its position in Spire by 7.5% during the 2nd quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 147,504 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $10,288,000 after buying an additional 10,255 shares during the period. Ameriprise Financial Inc. boosted its position in Spire by 19.3% during the 2nd quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 360,322 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $25,134,000 after buying an additional 58,296 shares during the period. Finally, Nationwide Fund Advisors boosted its position in Spire by 2.0% during the 2nd quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 78,577 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $5,481,000 after buying an additional 1,530 shares during the period. 79.99% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Spire

Spire Inc, formerly The Laclede Group, Inc, is engaged to transform its business and pursue growth by growing its gas utility business through prudent investment in infrastructure upgrades and organic growth initiatives; acquire and integrate gas utilities; modernize its gas assets, and invest in innovation.

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Analyst Recommendations for Spire (NYSE:SR)

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