Goldman Sachs Group Inc. upgraded shares of Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Monday morning, TheFlyOnTheWall.com reports. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. currently has $34.00 price objective on the stock, up from their previous price objective of $33.00.
“We upgrade Westar Energy (WR) to Buy from Neutral with 13% total return upside potential to our new 12-month $34 price target versus small/mid-cap regulated utility peers at 4%. As environmental projects on coal plants wind down in 2015, free cash flow and dividends should improve significantly, often the main driver of share price outperformance within utilities. We maintain our 2013 outlook, but modestly raise our 2014/2015/2016 estimates from $2.34/$2.34/$2.50 to $2.37/$2.40/$2.52 on lower costs – and remain above consensus by 2%-4% on average.,” the firm’s analyst wrote.
Several other analysts have also recently commented on the stock. Analysts at UBS AG upgraded shares of Westar Energy from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a research note to investors on Thursday, November 21st. They now have a $35.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $33.00. Separately, analysts at Gabelli upgraded shares of Westar Energy from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note to investors on Monday, November 11th. Finally, analysts at Wunderlich initiated coverage on shares of Westar Energy in a research note to investors on Thursday, October 17th. They set a hold rating and a $33.00 price target on the stock. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $33.43.
Shares of Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) opened at 31.76 on Monday. Westar Energy has a one year low of $27.95 and a one year high of $34.96. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $31.70 and its 200-day moving average is $31.75. The company has a market cap of $4.038 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.68.
Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) last released its earnings data on Friday, November 8th. The company reported $1.04 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $1.00 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $694.97 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $702.57 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.10 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was down .1% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts predict that Westar Energy will post $2.23 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which is scheduled for Thursday, January 2nd. Investors of record on Monday, December 9th will be given a dividend of $0.34 per share. This represents a $1.36 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.28%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 5th.
Westar Energy, Inc (NYSE:WR) provides electric generation, transmission and distribution services to approximately 690,000 customers in Kansas.
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