NiSource (NI) Downgraded to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of NiSource (NYSE:NI) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “Shares of NiSource have gained higher than the industry it belongs to in the last 12 months. NiSource is benefiting from continued execution of its infrastructure investment strategy.  NiSource will annually invest nearly $1.6-$1.8 billion in planned utility infrastructures from 2019 to 2020 and has identified long-term infrastructure investments worth $30 billion. The company is also working actively to reduce its carbon footprint by bringing down the coal usage. Despite investing in upgrade programs, NiSource Inc. faces the risk of disruption in operation from its ageing infrastructure. NiSource’s rising debt level amid increasing interest rates is another concern.”

Several other research firms have also weighed in on NI. Citigroup lifted their target price on shares of NiSource from $28.00 to $31.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Monday, November 20th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $26.00 target price on shares of NiSource in a report on Wednesday, December 20th. KeyCorp reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $29.50 target price on shares of NiSource in a report on Friday, October 20th. Goldman Sachs Group raised shares of NiSource from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $23.00 target price for the company in a report on Wednesday, January 10th. Finally, Edward Jones raised shares of NiSource from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 9th. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the stock. NiSource has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $27.32.

NiSource (NI) traded down $0.04 during trading hours on Thursday, hitting $23.94. 2,586,188 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 3,040,000. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.72, a quick ratio of 0.32 and a current ratio of 0.52. The stock has a market cap of $8,060.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 28.84, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.16 and a beta of 0.43. NiSource has a 52-week low of $21.65 and a 52-week high of $27.76.

NiSource (NYSE:NI) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, November 1st. The utilities provider reported $0.07 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $0.07. The firm had revenue of $917.00 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $901.00 million. NiSource had a net margin of 5.61% and a return on equity of 8.97%. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.06 EPS. equities research analysts forecast that NiSource will post 1.2 EPS for the current year.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in NI. Principal Financial Group Inc. grew its stake in NiSource by 1.0% in the 2nd quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 502,702 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $12,748,000 after acquiring an additional 4,807 shares during the period. Wells Fargo & Company MN grew its stake in NiSource by 6.3% in the 2nd quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 1,060,829 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $26,902,000 after acquiring an additional 62,809 shares during the period. Stephens Inc. AR acquired a new stake in NiSource in the 2nd quarter valued at $299,000. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC grew its stake in NiSource by 6.4% in the 2nd quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 977,515 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $24,790,000 after acquiring an additional 58,850 shares during the period. Finally, Ameriprise Financial Inc. grew its stake in NiSource by 349.2% in the 2nd quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 1,981,096 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $50,247,000 after acquiring an additional 1,540,050 shares during the period. 82.20% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About NiSource

NiSource Inc is an energy holding company. The Company is engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Company operates through two business segments: Gas Distribution Operations and Electric Operations. The Company’s Gas Distribution Operations segment provides natural gas service and transportation for residential, commercial and industrial customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Indiana and Massachusetts.

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