Zacks Investment Research Upgrades The Laclede Group Inc. (SR) to “Buy”

The Laclede Group Inc. (NYSE:SR) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report released on Wednesday. The firm presently has a $67.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price target would suggest a potential upside of 8.24% from the stock’s current price.

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 equities research analysts have also recently weighed in on the stock. Wells Fargo & Co. cut shares of The Laclede Group from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 6th. Ladenburg Thalmann initiated coverage on shares of The Laclede Group in a research report on Friday, August 19th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $69.00 price objective for the company. Finally, TheStreet upgraded shares of The Laclede Group from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, June 28th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating, one has issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The Laclede Group currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $64.60.

Analyst Recommendations for The Laclede Group (NYSE:SR)

Shares of The Laclede Group (NYSE:SR) opened at 61.90 on Wednesday. The Laclede Group has a 12-month low of $54.33 and a 12-month high of $71.21. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $63.77 and its 200-day moving average is $65.99. The firm has a market cap of $2.83 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.42 and a beta of 0.32.

The Laclede Group (NYSE:SR) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 3rd. The company reported $0.33 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.27 by $0.06. The business earned $249.30 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $290.50 million. The Laclede Group had a net margin of 9.55% and a return on equity of 8.84%. The firm’s revenue was down 9.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.25 EPS. Analysts predict that The Laclede Group will post $3.42 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, October 4th. Shareholders of record on Monday, September 12th were issued a $0.49 dividend. This represents a $1.96 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.17%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, September 8th. The Laclede Group’s payout ratio is 61.25%.

About The Laclede Group

Spire Inc, formerly The Laclede Group, Inc is a public utility holding company for Laclede Gas Company (Laclede Gas or the Missouri Utilities). It operates through two segments: Gas Utility and Gas Marketing. The Gas Utility segment includes the regulated operations of Laclede Gas and Alabama Gas Corporation (Alagasco or the Alabama Utility) (collectively, the Utilities).

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