Trade Report: The National Fuel Gas Co. (NFG) Upgraded to Buy at Jefferies Group

The National Fuel Gas Co. (NFG) Upgraded to Buy at Jefferies Group

National Fuel Gas Co. (NYSE:NFG) was upgraded by equities researchers at Jefferies Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Thursday, The Fly reports.

Other equities analysts have also recently issued reports about the company. Zacks Investment Research raised National Fuel Gas from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $63.00 target price for the company in a report on Tuesday, July 5th. Barclays PLC increased their price target on National Fuel Gas from $47.00 to $61.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 10th. Seven equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $60.67.

Shares of National Fuel Gas (NYSE:NFG) opened at 52.75 on Thursday. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $55.83 and its 200-day moving average price is $55.00. National Fuel Gas has a 12 month low of $37.03 and a 12 month high of $59.62. The firm’s market capitalization is $4.48 billion.

National Fuel Gas (NYSE:NFG) last issued its earnings results on Friday, August 5th. The company reported $0.68 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.65 by $0.03. National Fuel Gas had a positive return on equity of 13.87% and a negative net margin of 35.33%. The business earned $335.60 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $384.26 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.55 EPS. National Fuel Gas’s quarterly revenue was down 1.2% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts predict that National Fuel Gas will post $2.96 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 14th. Investors of record on Friday, September 30th will be given a dividend of $0.405 per share. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, September 28th. This represents a $1.62 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.07%. National Fuel Gas’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently -26.60%.

In other National Fuel Gas news, COO John R. Pustulka sold 12,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, September 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.58, for a total value of $702,960.00. Following the transaction, the chief operating officer now directly owns 65,077 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,812,210.66. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director David F. Smith sold 48,983 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, September 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.64, for a total value of $2,774,397.12. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 214,507 shares in the company, valued at $12,149,676.48. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 3.25% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. State Street Corp raised its position in shares of National Fuel Gas by 11.7% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 6,439,757 shares of the company’s stock worth $322,305,000 after buying an additional 673,010 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in shares of National Fuel Gas by 4.6% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 6,234,744 shares of the company’s stock worth $354,632,000 after buying an additional 274,488 shares during the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its position in shares of National Fuel Gas by 6.8% in the second quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 3,776,298 shares of the company’s stock worth $214,796,000 after buying an additional 241,069 shares during the last quarter. Barclays PLC raised its position in shares of National Fuel Gas by 3,041.7% in the first quarter. Barclays PLC now owns 81,874 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,094,000 after buying an additional 79,268 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Stevens Capital Management LP purchased a new position in shares of National Fuel Gas during the second quarter worth approximately $3,956,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 62.45% of the company’s stock.

About National Fuel Gas

National Fuel Gas Company is a holding company. The Company is an energy company engaged in the production, gathering, transportation, distribution and marketing of natural gas. The Company operates through five segments: Exploration and Production, including operations carried out through its subsidiary, Seneca Resources Corporation; Pipeline and Storage, including operations carried out through its subsidiaries, National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation and Empire Pipeline, Inc; Gathering, including operations carried out through subsidiaries of National Fuel Gas Midstream Corporation; Utility, including operations are carried out by through its subsidiary, Distribution Corporation, and Energy Marketing, including operations carried out through its subsidiary, National Fuel Resources, Inc The Company operates an integrated business, with assets centered in western New York and Pennsylvania.

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