Zacks Investment Research Lowers Duke Energy (DUK) to Sell

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Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report released on Wednesday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Duke Energy faces challenges from severe weather conditions, which may result in infrastructure damage and break down. Potential volatility in market prices of fuel, electricity and other renewable energy commodities could also create operational risks. Moreover, massive debt levels can turn out to be a major headwind for the company, going ahead. Currently, its strategy includes generation of cleaner energy, as a result of which it is anticipated to incur environmental compliance cost of $2.78 billion for the 2019-2023 period. Such costs may weigh on the company’s bottom-line growth. However, it expects to invest about $37 billion in its overall growth projects in the 2019-2023-time frame. This investment plan will drive earnings base growth in the company’s combined electric and gas businesses by approximately 6%, over the next five years. Duke Energy also outperformed the industry in the past twelve months.”

DUK has been the subject of several other reports. ValuEngine lowered Duke Energy from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, April 3rd. Bank of America boosted their price objective on Duke Energy from $89.00 to $91.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a report on Monday, March 11th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $90.00 price objective on Duke Energy and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Monday. Credit Suisse Group lowered Duke Energy from an outperform rating to a neutral rating in a report on Friday, February 15th. Finally, Morgan Stanley boosted their price objective on Duke Energy from $94.00 to $96.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a report on Thursday, May 16th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Duke Energy presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $88.70.

Shares of Duke Energy stock opened at $87.81 on Wednesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.25, a current ratio of 0.75 and a quick ratio of 0.49. The stock has a market capitalization of $63.40 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.60, a PEG ratio of 3.63 and a beta of 0.06. Duke Energy has a fifty-two week low of $71.96 and a fifty-two week high of $91.67.

Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, May 9th. The utilities provider reported $1.24 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.21 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $6.16 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $6.39 billion. Duke Energy had a return on equity of 7.70% and a net margin of 12.00%. Duke Energy’s quarterly revenue was up .5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.28 earnings per share. Equities research analysts anticipate that Duke Energy will post 4.94 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, June 17th. Stockholders of record on Friday, May 17th will be issued a dividend of $0.9275 per share. This represents a $3.71 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.23%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, May 16th. Duke Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 78.60%.

In other news, Chairman Lynn J. Good sold 15,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, February 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $89.92, for a total transaction of $1,348,800.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, EVP Lloyd M. Yates sold 3,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, February 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $88.51, for a total value of $309,785.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 22,731 shares of company stock valued at $2,027,567 over the last ninety days. Corporate insiders own 0.09% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of DUK. Canton Hathaway LLC acquired a new stake in Duke Energy in the first quarter worth approximately $25,000. Harvest Group Wealth Management LLC acquired a new stake in Duke Energy in the first quarter worth approximately $26,000. Riverview Trust Co acquired a new stake in Duke Energy in the first quarter worth approximately $39,000. Proficio Capital Partners LLC lifted its position in Duke Energy by 59.0% in the fourth quarter. Proficio Capital Partners LLC now owns 442 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $38,000 after purchasing an additional 164 shares during the period. Finally, Glassman Wealth Services lifted its position in Duke Energy by 35.2% in the first quarter. Glassman Wealth Services now owns 449 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $40,000 after purchasing an additional 117 shares during the period. 61.15% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Duke Energy Company Profile

Duke Energy Corp. engages in distribution of natural gas and energy related services. It operates through the following segments: Electric Utilities and Infrastructure, Gas Utilities and Infrastructure, and Commercial Renewables. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure segment conducts operations primarily through the regulated public utilities of Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress, Duke Energy Florida, Duke Energy Indiana and Duke Energy Ohio.

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