Atmos Energy (ATO) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Atmos Energy (NYSE:ATO) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Atmos Energy Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the distribution, transmission, and storage of natural gas in the United States. It operates in three segments: Regulated Distribution, Regulated Pipeline, and Nonregulated. The Regulated Distribution segment is involved in regulated natural gas distribution and related sales operations. This segment distributes natural gas to approximately 3 million residential, commercial, public authority, and industrial customers. The Regulated Pipeline segment engages in the pipeline and storage operations. This segment transports natural gas for third parties and manages five underground storage reservoirs in Texas; and provides ancillary services in the pipeline industry. The Nonregulated segment provides natural gas management, marketing, transportation, and storage services to municipalities, local gas distribution companies, and industrial customers primarily in the Midwest and Southeast. “

Separately, JPMorgan Chase & Co. upped their target price on shares of Atmos Energy from $91.00 to $94.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a report on Thursday, October 12th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has given a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $89.20.

Atmos Energy (NYSE:ATO) traded down $0.79 during trading on Thursday, reaching $83.19. 377,742 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 578,174. The company has a quick ratio of 0.35, a current ratio of 0.53 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.79. The company has a market cap of $9,230.60, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.67, a PEG ratio of 3.09 and a beta of 0.40. Atmos Energy has a twelve month low of $72.54 and a twelve month high of $93.56.

Atmos Energy (NYSE:ATO) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, November 8th. The utilities provider reported $0.34 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.34. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.40 EPS. research analysts anticipate that Atmos Energy will post 3.61 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, December 11th. Stockholders of record on Monday, November 27th were issued a $0.485 dividend. This is a positive change from Atmos Energy’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.45. The ex-dividend date was Friday, November 24th. This represents a $1.94 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.33%. Atmos Energy’s dividend payout ratio is presently 51.87%.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of ATO. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Atmos Energy by 2.7% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 9,636,125 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $799,314,000 after buying an additional 255,277 shares during the last quarter. Cramer Rosenthal Mcglynn LLC increased its holdings in shares of Atmos Energy by 22.3% in the 2nd quarter. Cramer Rosenthal Mcglynn LLC now owns 1,128,125 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $93,578,000 after buying an additional 205,735 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Atmos Energy by 1.5% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 10,274,797 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $852,294,000 after buying an additional 150,691 shares during the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Atmos Energy by 27.9% in the 3rd quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 653,063 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $54,752,000 after buying an additional 142,352 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Prudential Financial Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Atmos Energy by 16.6% in the 3rd quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 978,216 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $82,014,000 after buying an additional 139,400 shares during the last quarter. 67.73% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Atmos Energy

Atmos Energy Corporation is a fully-regulated, natural-gas-only distributor engaged primarily in the regulated natural gas distribution and pipeline businesses, as well as other nonregulated natural gas businesses. It operates through three segments: regulated distribution segment, which includes its regulated distribution and related sales operations; regulated pipeline segment, which includes pipeline and storage operations of its Atmos Pipeline-Texas Division, and nonregulated segment, which includes its nonregulated natural gas management, nonregulated natural gas transmission, storage and other services.

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