Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of South Jersey Industries (NYSE:SJI) from a strong sell rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “South Jersey Industries, Inc., an energy services holding company based in Folsom, NJ, delivers energy solutions to its customers through three primary subsidiaries. South Jersey Gas delivers safe, reliable, affordable natural gas and promotes energy efficiency to customers in southern New Jersey. SJI’s non-utility businesses within South Jersey Energy Solutions promote efficiency, clean technology and renewable energy by providing customized wholesale commodity marketing and fuel management services; acquiring and marketing natural gas and electricity for retail customers; and developing, owning and operating on-site energy production facilities. SJI Midstream is also an SJI subsidiary and houses the company’s interest in the PennEast Pipeline Project. “

Separately, ValuEngine downgraded South Jersey Industries from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, February 28th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $33.83.

South Jersey Industries stock traded down $0.62 during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching $30.59. 5,666 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 692,262. The firm has a market cap of $2.88 billion, a PE ratio of 24.94, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 4.72 and a beta of 0.76. South Jersey Industries has a 12 month low of $26.06 and a 12 month high of $36.72. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.66, a current ratio of 0.42 and a quick ratio of 0.38.

South Jersey Industries (NYSE:SJI) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, February 27th. The utilities provider reported $0.39 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.41 by ($0.02). South Jersey Industries had a net margin of 1.08% and a return on equity of 10.13%. Sell-side analysts expect that South Jersey Industries will post 1.53 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, April 2nd. Shareholders of record on Monday, March 18th will be issued a $0.2875 dividend. This represents a $1.15 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.76%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, March 15th. South Jersey Industries’s dividend payout ratio is presently 93.50%.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of SJI. Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its holdings in shares of South Jersey Industries by 3.7% during the 2nd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 1,476,797 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $49,428,000 after acquiring an additional 53,211 shares in the last quarter. American Century Companies Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of South Jersey Industries by 2.8% during the 3rd quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 124,142 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $4,378,000 after acquiring an additional 3,340 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its holdings in shares of South Jersey Industries by 104.5% during the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 74,357 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,623,000 after acquiring an additional 37,993 shares in the last quarter. Swiss National Bank boosted its holdings in shares of South Jersey Industries by 7.7% during the 3rd quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 149,109 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $5,259,000 after acquiring an additional 10,600 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS boosted its holdings in shares of South Jersey Industries by 12.9% during the 3rd quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS now owns 20,413 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $720,000 after acquiring an additional 2,327 shares in the last quarter. 84.94% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

South Jersey Industries Company Profile

South Jersey Industries, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides energy-related products and services. The company engages in the purchase, transmission, and sale of natural gas. It also sells natural gas and pipeline transportation capacity on a wholesale basis to residential, commercial, and industrial customers on the interstate pipeline system, as well as transports natural gas, which is purchased directly from producers or suppliers to their customers.

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