Spark Energy (SPKE) Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Spark Energy (NASDAQ:SPKE) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Thursday morning, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Spark Energy, Inc. is an independent retail energy services company. It provides residential and commercial customers across the United States with an alternative choice for their natural gas and electricity. The company is involved in the retail distribution of natural gas and electricity. It also offers renewable and carbon neutral products. Spark Energy, Inc. is headquartered in Houston, Texas. “

Several other equities analysts also recently issued reports on the company. BidaskClub downgraded Spark Energy from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, March 7th. ValuEngine raised Spark Energy from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 19th. Finally, B. Riley cut their target price on Spark Energy from $11.00 to $10.00 and set a neutral rating on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, March 5th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and two have issued a hold rating to the company’s stock. Spark Energy currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $10.50.

Shares of NASDAQ SPKE traded down $0.04 during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $9.43. The stock had a trading volume of 52,108 shares, compared to its average volume of 111,652. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.54, a current ratio of 2.06 and a quick ratio of 2.03. Spark Energy has a twelve month low of $7.20 and a twelve month high of $12.15. The company has a market cap of $327.74 million, a price-to-earnings ratio of -13.74 and a beta of -0.52.

Spark Energy (NASDAQ:SPKE) last released its earnings results on Monday, March 4th. The utilities provider reported ($0.29) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter. Spark Energy had a negative net margin of 0.12% and a positive return on equity of 7.28%. The firm had revenue of $228.51 million during the quarter. Research analysts expect that Spark Energy will post 0.05 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 14th. Investors of record on Friday, May 31st will be given a $0.181 dividend. This represents a $0.72 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 7.68%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, May 30th. Spark Energy’s payout ratio is -105.80%.

In related news, CEO Nathan Kroeker sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $9.90, for a total value of $49,500.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 95,449 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $944,945.10. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. 66.98% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in SPKE. JPMorgan Chase & Co. grew its position in Spark Energy by 1.1% during the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 1,022,946 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $8,440,000 after purchasing an additional 11,585 shares during the period. Macquarie Group Ltd. grew its position in Spark Energy by 127.1% during the 3rd quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 24,848 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $205,000 after purchasing an additional 13,907 shares during the period. Nordea Investment Management AB grew its position in Spark Energy by 54.4% during the 3rd quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 507,331 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $4,185,000 after purchasing an additional 178,854 shares during the period. Marshall Wace LLP acquired a new stake in Spark Energy during the 3rd quarter worth about $188,000. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc grew its position in Spark Energy by 0.8% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 616,598 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $5,087,000 after purchasing an additional 4,886 shares during the period. 32.20% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Spark Energy

Spark Energy, Inc, through its subsidiaries, operates as an independent retail energy services company in the United States. It operates through two segments, Retail Electricity and Retail Natural Gas. The company is involved in the retail distribution of electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, and industrial customers.

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