Northwest Natural Gas Co (NYSE:NWN) has received an average recommendation of “Hold” from the seven ratings firms that are presently covering the firm, MarketBeat reports. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell recommendation, two have issued a hold recommendation and one has issued a strong buy recommendation on the company. The average 12-month target price among brokers that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $63.00.

A number of research firms have weighed in on NWN. TheStreet lowered shares of Northwest Natural Gas from a “b” rating to a “c+” rating in a research report on Friday, January 12th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Northwest Natural Gas from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 10th. Sidoti lowered shares of Northwest Natural Gas from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $63.00 target price for the company. in a research report on Monday, January 8th. Wells Fargo & Co lowered shares of Northwest Natural Gas from a “market perform” rating to an “underperform” rating in a research report on Monday, December 18th. Finally, Guggenheim lowered shares of Northwest Natural Gas from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 2nd.

Shares of Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE NWN) traded up $1.85 during trading hours on Wednesday, reaching $56.10. 222,439 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 170,935. The company has a market capitalization of $1,557.68, a PE ratio of 25.50, a PEG ratio of 5.30 and a beta of 0.33. Northwest Natural Gas has a 12-month low of $52.47 and a 12-month high of $69.50. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89, a current ratio of 0.98 and a quick ratio of 0.69.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 15th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, January 31st will be given a dividend of $0.4725 per share. This represents a $1.89 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.37%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, January 30th. Northwest Natural Gas’s dividend payout ratio is 85.91%.

In other Northwest Natural Gas news, Director Mark S. Dodson sold 1,036 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, January 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $56.05, for a total transaction of $58,067.80. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. 1.48% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio raised its position in shares of Northwest Natural Gas by 2.0% during the second quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 2,063 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $123,000 after buying an additional 40 shares during the last quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. raised its position in shares of Northwest Natural Gas by 61.0% during the second quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 2,111 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $126,000 after buying an additional 800 shares during the last quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. raised its position in shares of Northwest Natural Gas by 6.4% during the second quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. now owns 2,496 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $149,000 after buying an additional 150 shares during the last quarter. Flinton Capital Management LLC raised its position in shares of Northwest Natural Gas by 83.6% during the second quarter. Flinton Capital Management LLC now owns 3,444 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $206,000 after buying an additional 1,568 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Coldstream Capital Management Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Northwest Natural Gas during the third quarter valued at about $208,000. 64.95% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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Northwest Natural Gas Company Profile

Northwest Natural Gas Company (NW Natural) is engaged in the distribution of natural gas. The Company’s segments include Local Gas Distribution, Gas Storage and other. The Company maintains operations in Oregon, Washington and California and conducts businesses through NW Natural and its subsidiaries.

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