Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of CenterPoint Energy (NYSE:CNP) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report report published on Wednesday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $30.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “CenterPoint Energy's share price has outperformed the broader industry in the last one year. The company has been strengthening its infrastructure through regular capital investment and acquisitions, which will help it to meet the requirements of an expanding customer base. Toward this end, the company continues with its capital expenditure plan of $7 billion from 2017 through 2021. It also received an approval for its transmission cost of service (TCOS) filing, which is projected to provide a $7.8 million annual increase in revenue. CenterPoint Energy is also investing substantially to expand its operations to cope with increasing utility demand. The company is currently focused on upgrading infrastructure and improving reliability. However, its results are subject to the impact of weather patterns, regulatory and judicial proceedings along with fluctuating commodity prices.”

Several other research firms have also weighed in on CNP. Bank of America started coverage on CenterPoint Energy in a report on Tuesday, October 24th. They set a neutral rating and a $30.00 target price on the stock. SunTrust Banks set a $27.00 target price on CenterPoint Energy and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Monday. Guggenheim lowered CenterPoint Energy from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a report on Monday, December 4th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Citigroup raised their target price on CenterPoint Energy from $27.00 to $30.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a report on Monday, November 20th. Nine equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, one has given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $29.11.

CenterPoint Energy (NYSE:CNP) opened at $26.19 on Wednesday. CenterPoint Energy has a 1-year low of $25.51 and a 1-year high of $30.45. The company has a current ratio of 0.91, a quick ratio of 0.77 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.08. The firm has a market capitalization of $11,538.77, a PE ratio of 19.12, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.01 and a beta of 0.56.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 8th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, February 15th will be paid a $0.2775 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, February 14th. This is a positive change from CenterPoint Energy’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.27. This represents a $1.11 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.24%. CenterPoint Energy’s payout ratio is presently 78.10%.

In other news, CEO Scott M. Prochazka sold 1,000 shares of CenterPoint Energy stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, January 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $28.11, for a total value of $28,110.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Insiders sold 3,000 shares of company stock worth $85,410 over the last quarter. 0.20% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of CNP. APG Asset Management N.V. increased its stake in shares of CenterPoint Energy by 410.6% in the third quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 7,214,510 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $210,736,000 after purchasing an additional 5,801,591 shares during the period. Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB publ increased its stake in shares of CenterPoint Energy by 145.5% in the third quarter. Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB publ now owns 4,350,657 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $127,083,000 after purchasing an additional 2,578,527 shares during the period. Wells Fargo & Company MN increased its stake in shares of CenterPoint Energy by 171.0% in the third quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 3,457,855 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $101,004,000 after purchasing an additional 2,181,883 shares during the period. Old Mutual Global Investors UK Ltd. increased its stake in shares of CenterPoint Energy by 108.7% in the fourth quarter. Old Mutual Global Investors UK Ltd. now owns 3,665,608 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $103,956,000 after purchasing an additional 1,909,129 shares during the period. Finally, Allianz Asset Management GmbH increased its stake in shares of CenterPoint Energy by 34.4% in the third quarter. Allianz Asset Management GmbH now owns 4,224,869 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $123,408,000 after purchasing an additional 1,081,782 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 77.85% of the company’s stock.

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About CenterPoint Energy

CenterPoint Energy, Inc is a public utility holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates electric transmission and distribution facilities, and natural gas distribution facilities. The Electric Transmission & Distribution segment provides electric transmission and distribution services to retail electric providers.

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