Avista (NYSE:AVA) Downgraded by TheStreet

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TheStreet lowered shares of Avista (NYSE:AVA) from a b- rating to a c+ rating in a research report released on Thursday, TheStreetRatingsTable reports.

Several other analysts also recently commented on the stock. KeyCorp raised shares of Avista from an underweight rating to a sector weight rating in a research report on Monday, March 23rd. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Williams Capital raised shares of Avista from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, February 27th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Avista from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, May 19th. Finally, Bank of America upgraded Avista from an underperform rating to a buy rating in a research note on Monday, March 30th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $41.33.

Shares of AVA opened at $38.07 on Thursday. The company has a current ratio of 0.48, a quick ratio of 0.38 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.97. The firm’s fifty day simple moving average is $41.36 and its two-hundred day simple moving average is $46.24. Avista has a 12 month low of $32.09 and a 12 month high of $53.00. The stock has a market capitalization of $2.57 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.65, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.77 and a beta of 0.47.

Avista (NYSE:AVA) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Friday, May 8th. The utilities provider reported $0.72 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.66 by $0.06. Avista had a return on equity of 6.75% and a net margin of 9.68%. The company had revenue of $377.20 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $404.97 million. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $1.76 EPS. The firm’s revenue was down .1% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, research analysts predict that Avista will post 1.91 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, June 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, May 29th will be paid a dividend of $0.405 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, May 28th. This represents a $1.62 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.26%. Avista’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 93.10%.

In related news, Chairman Scott L. Morris sold 20,000 shares of Avista stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, March 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.42, for a total transaction of $1,008,400.00. Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 192,643 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $9,713,060.06. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, VP James M. Kensok sold 1,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, March 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.35, for a total value of $50,350.00. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 10,385 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $522,884.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 37,000 shares of company stock worth $1,842,270. Corporate insiders own 0.98% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of AVA. Stifel Financial Corp lifted its position in shares of Avista by 1.9% during the fourth quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 11,534 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $558,000 after purchasing an additional 218 shares in the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund increased its stake in Avista by 1.1% in the 1st quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 26,724 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,136,000 after buying an additional 284 shares during the last quarter. Versant Capital Management Inc increased its stake in Avista by 22.5% in the 1st quarter. Versant Capital Management Inc now owns 1,707 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $72,000 after buying an additional 313 shares during the last quarter. Redpoint Investment Management Pty Ltd lifted its position in shares of Avista by 1.0% during the 1st quarter. Redpoint Investment Management Pty Ltd now owns 33,685 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,431,000 after buying an additional 337 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Avista by 5.6% in the fourth quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 7,420 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $357,000 after acquiring an additional 391 shares in the last quarter. 78.53% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Avista

Avista Corporation operates as an electric and natural gas utility company. It operates through two segments, Avista Utilities and AEL&P. The Avista Utilities segment provides electric distribution and transmission, and natural gas distribution services in parts of eastern Washington and northern Idaho; and natural gas distribution services in parts of northeastern and southwestern Oregon, as well as generates electricity in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Montana.

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