NiSource Inc. (NYSE:NI) was the recipient of some unusual options trading on Thursday. Stock investors acquired 1,400 call options on the stock. This represents an increase of 893% compared to the average daily volume of 141 call options.

NI has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded NiSource from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating in a research note on Thursday, May 31st. ValuEngine cut NiSource from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 6th. Zacks Investment Research raised NiSource from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $30.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, July 3rd. Barclays initiated coverage on NiSource in a research report on Tuesday, July 10th. They set an “equal weight” rating and a $27.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, KeyCorp lifted their price objective on NiSource from $26.00 to $27.00 and gave the company a “$26.15” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 19th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the stock. NiSource currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $26.70.

In related news, CFO Donald Eugene Brown sold 2,400 shares of NiSource stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $26.50, for a total value of $63,600.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 49,167 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,302,925.50. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, EVP Carrie J. Hightman sold 27,000 shares of NiSource stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $26.75, for a total value of $722,250.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 325,066 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $8,695,515.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.37% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC bought a new position in NiSource in the 2nd quarter valued at $104,000. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC bought a new position in NiSource in the 2nd quarter valued at $105,000. Advisors Asset Management Inc. bought a new position in NiSource in the 2nd quarter valued at $110,000. Parallel Advisors LLC grew its position in NiSource by 286.6% in the 2nd quarter. Parallel Advisors LLC now owns 4,701 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $123,000 after acquiring an additional 3,485 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Optimum Investment Advisors bought a new position in NiSource in the 1st quarter valued at $121,000. 90.61% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

NYSE:NI traded down $3.29 during trading hours on Friday, reaching $24.79. The stock had a trading volume of 33,133,983 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,900,574. The company has a market cap of $10.13 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.49, a PEG ratio of 3.93 and a beta of 0.17. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.40, a current ratio of 0.51 and a quick ratio of 0.38. NiSource has a 52 week low of $22.44 and a 52 week high of $28.11.

NiSource (NYSE:NI) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, August 1st. The utilities provider reported $0.07 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.09 by ($0.02). The company had revenue of $1.01 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $999.39 million. NiSource had a net margin of 5.20% and a return on equity of 9.19%. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.10 EPS. analysts anticipate that NiSource will post 1.29 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, November 20th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, October 31st will be given a dividend of $0.195 per share. This represents a $0.78 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.15%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, October 30th. NiSource’s dividend payout ratio is currently 64.46%.

NiSource Company Profile

NiSource Inc, an energy holding company, operates as a regulated natural gas and electric utility company in the United States. The company operates in two segments, Gas Distribution Operations and Electric Operations. It provides natural gas service and transportation to residential, commercial, and industrial customers; generates, transmits, and distributes electricity; and offers wholesale and transmission transaction services.

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