Trading Report: The Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Atmos Energy Corp. (ATO) to “Buy”

The Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Atmos Energy Corp. (ATO) to “Buy”

Atmos Energy Corp. (NYSE:ATO) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Tuesday. The brokerage presently has a $77.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price objective indicates a potential upside of 9.95% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Atmos Energy Corporation distributes and sells natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural and other customers. Atmos operates through five divisions in cities, towns and communities in service areas located in Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. The Company has entered into an agreement to sell all of its natural gas utility operations in South Carolina. The Company also transports natural gas for others through its distribution system. “

Several other brokerages have also weighed in on ATO. Citigroup Inc. upped their target price on shares of Atmos Energy Corp. from $58.00 to $81.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 27th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lowered their target price on shares of Atmos Energy Corp. from $88.00 to $87.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, August 5th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $76.43.

Shares of Atmos Energy Corp. (NYSE:ATO) opened at 70.03 on Tuesday. The firm has a market cap of $7.27 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.27 and a beta of 0.30. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $73.77 and its 200-day moving average is $75.23. Atmos Energy Corp. has a one year low of $58.75 and a one year high of $81.97.

Atmos Energy Corp. (NYSE:ATO) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, August 3rd. The company reported $0.69 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.58 by $0.11. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.54 EPS. Analysts anticipate that Atmos Energy Corp. will post $3.30 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other Atmos Energy Corp. news, SVP Louis P. Gregory sold 4,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.10, for a total value of $312,400.00. Following the sale, the senior vice president now owns 82,182 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,418,414.20. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Thomas C. Meredith sold 1,020 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.24, for a total transaction of $76,744.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.49% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Teachers Advisors Inc. increased its stake in shares of Atmos Energy Corp. by 7.3% in the first quarter. Teachers Advisors Inc. now owns 145,629 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,814,000 after buying an additional 9,969 shares during the period. Prudential Financial Inc. increased its position in shares of Atmos Energy Corp. by 42.9% in the first quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 161,749 shares of the company’s stock valued at $12,012,000 after buying an additional 48,550 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in shares of Atmos Energy Corp. by 51.5% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 243,301 shares of the company’s stock valued at $18,068,000 after buying an additional 82,681 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Group LTD increased its position in shares of Atmos Energy Corp. by 178.5% in the first quarter. BlackRock Group LTD now owns 441,053 shares of the company’s stock valued at $32,753,000 after buying an additional 282,694 shares during the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Fund Advisors increased its position in shares of Atmos Energy Corp. by 1.8% in the first quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 3,523,590 shares of the company’s stock valued at $261,662,000 after buying an additional 61,248 shares during the last quarter. 70.63% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Atmos Energy Corp.

Atmos Energy Corporation (Atmos Energy) is engaged primarily in the regulated natural gas distribution and transmission and storage businesses as well as other nonregulated natural gas businesses. The Company delivers natural gas through regulated sales and transportation arrangements to over three million residential, commercial, public authority and industrial customers in nine states located primarily in the South.

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