Spire (NYSE:SR) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Thursday, Zacks.com reports.

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. “

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently weighed in on the company. Wells Fargo & Company restated an “equal weight” rating and issued a $69.00 price target (down previously from $70.00) on shares of Spire in a report on Wednesday, March 10th. UBS Group assumed coverage on Spire in a report on Wednesday, December 9th. They issued a “buy” rating on the stock. TheStreet raised Spire from a “c+” rating to a “b” rating in a research note on Thursday, February 11th. Guggenheim raised shares of Spire from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $72.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, January 20th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded shares of Spire from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and dropped their target price for the company from $69.00 to $67.00 in a report on Friday, January 29th. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $72.40.

Shares of SR stock opened at $74.74 on Thursday. The company has a current ratio of 0.41, a quick ratio of 0.28 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.06. The stock has a 50 day simple moving average of $71.27 and a 200-day simple moving average of $63.42. The company has a market cap of $3.86 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 51.19, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.91 and a beta of 0.19. Spire has a 12-month low of $50.58 and a 12-month high of $81.47.

Spire (NYSE:SR) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 4th. The utilities provider reported $1.42 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.32 by $0.10. Spire had a return on equity of 8.88% and a net margin of 4.76%. The firm had revenue of $512.60 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $592.36 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.33 earnings per share. Spire’s quarterly revenue was down 9.6% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts forecast that Spire will post 4.08 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in SR. Exchange Traded Concepts LLC lifted its position in Spire by 4.7% during the fourth quarter. Exchange Traded Concepts LLC now owns 5,450 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $349,000 after buying an additional 246 shares during the period. CI Investments Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Spire by 67.1% during the 4th quarter. CI Investments Inc. now owns 894 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $57,000 after acquiring an additional 359 shares during the period. Signaturefd LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Spire by 63.9% during the 4th quarter. Signaturefd LLC now owns 1,034 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $66,000 after acquiring an additional 403 shares during the period. International Assets Investment Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Spire in the fourth quarter worth approximately $30,000. Finally, California State Teachers Retirement System grew its holdings in Spire by 0.7% in the third quarter. California State Teachers Retirement System now owns 76,083 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $4,048,000 after purchasing an additional 501 shares during the period. 78.08% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Spire Company Profile

Spire Inc, through its subsidiaries, engages in the purchase, retail distribution, and sale of natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and other end-users of natural gas in the United States. The company operates in two segments, Gas Utility and Gas Marketing. It is also involved in the marketing of natural gas; and provision of energy services on non-regulated basis to on-system utility transportation customers, as well as to retail and wholesale customers.

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