NorthWestern Corp (NYSE:NWE) hit a new 52-week high during trading on Thursday . The stock traded as high as $72.56 and last traded at $72.30, with a volume of 6752 shares. The stock had previously closed at $71.80.

Several equities research analysts have recently commented on NWE shares. Credit Suisse Group lowered their price target on shares of NorthWestern from $60.00 to $56.00 and set an “underperform” rating for the company in a research report on Wednesday, February 13th. Bank of America reissued an “underperform” rating and set a $55.00 price objective on shares of NorthWestern in a research note on Thursday, March 14th. Williams Capital reissued a “sell” rating on shares of NorthWestern in a research note on Monday, March 18th. Barclays lowered shares of NorthWestern from an “equal weight” rating to an “underweight” rating and lifted their price objective for the stock from $62.00 to $65.00 in a research note on Wednesday, March 20th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised shares of NorthWestern from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $80.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, April 17th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has assigned a hold rating, two have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $64.00.

The company has a market capitalization of $3.62 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.39, a P/E/G ratio of 7.33 and a beta of 0.33. The company has a current ratio of 0.83, a quick ratio of 0.69 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.06.

NorthWestern (NYSE:NWE) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, April 23rd. The utilities provider reported $1.23 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.18 by $0.05. NorthWestern had a net margin of 17.11% and a return on equity of 9.80%. The business had revenue of $384.22 million for the quarter. Equities analysts anticipate that NorthWestern Corp will post 3.56 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 28th. Investors of record on Friday, June 14th will be paid a dividend of $0.575 per share. This represents a $2.30 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.17%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, June 13th. NorthWestern’s payout ratio is 67.85%.

In other NorthWestern news, Director Jan Robert Horsfall sold 2,300 shares of NorthWestern stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, February 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $67.34, for a total value of $154,882.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 3,905 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $262,962.70. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, VP Michael R. Cashell sold 1,656 shares of NorthWestern stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, February 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $67.85, for a total transaction of $112,359.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.17% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY lifted its position in shares of NorthWestern by 72.0% in the fourth quarter. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY now owns 28,945 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,720,000 after purchasing an additional 12,114 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank bought a new stake in shares of NorthWestern in the fourth quarter worth $37,535,000. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans lifted its position in shares of NorthWestern by 169.1% in the fourth quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 204,872 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $12,178,000 after purchasing an additional 128,742 shares in the last quarter. Texas Permanent School Fund lifted its position in shares of NorthWestern by 4.0% in the fourth quarter. Texas Permanent School Fund now owns 32,929 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,957,000 after purchasing an additional 1,269 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG lifted its position in shares of NorthWestern by 23.4% in the fourth quarter. Deutsche Bank AG now owns 265,178 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $15,760,000 after purchasing an additional 50,256 shares in the last quarter. 95.42% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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NorthWestern Company Profile (NYSE:NWE)

NorthWestern Corporation, doing business as NorthWestern Energy, provides electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, and industrial customers. The company operates through Electric Operations and Natural Gas Operations segments. It generates, transmits, and distributes electricity; and produces, stores, transmits, and distributes natural gas, as well as owns municipal franchises to provide natural gas service in the communities.

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