Shares of Avista Corp (NYSE:AVA) saw unusually-strong trading volume on Friday . Approximately 1,713,076 shares traded hands during mid-day trading, an increase of 96% from the previous session’s volume of 872,978 shares.The stock last traded at $41.45 and had previously closed at $41.11.

Several equities analysts have commented on AVA shares. Zacks Investment Research raised Avista from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, March 6th. Guggenheim reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $38.00 price objective on shares of Avista in a research report on Friday, February 8th. Williams Capital raised Avista from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and upped their price objective for the company from $40.00 to $41.00 in a research report on Friday, January 4th. TheStreet downgraded Avista from a “b-” rating to a “c+” rating in a research report on Thursday, January 24th. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded Avista from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, January 11th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, Avista currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $39.50.

The stock has a market cap of $2.72 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.64 and a beta of 0.38. The company has a quick ratio of 0.44, a current ratio of 0.54 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.02.

Avista (NYSE:AVA) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, February 20th. The utilities provider reported $0.70 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.60 by $0.10. The company had revenue of $372.22 million for the quarter. Avista had a return on equity of 7.79% and a net margin of 9.77%. On average, equities analysts predict that Avista Corp will post 2.88 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, February 22nd were issued a $0.3875 dividend. This represents a $1.55 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.74%. This is a boost from Avista’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.37. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, February 21st. Avista’s dividend payout ratio is currently 73.46%.

In related news, Director R John Taylor sold 2,600 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, February 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $41.45, for a total transaction of $107,770.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, VP David J. Meyer sold 1,437 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, February 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $41.34, for a total value of $59,405.58. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 2,396 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $99,050.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 50,636 shares of company stock valued at $2,070,250 over the last quarter. Company insiders own 1.10% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of AVA. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund purchased a new stake in shares of Avista during the 4th quarter worth $25,000. NumerixS Investment Technologies Inc purchased a new stake in shares of Avista during the 4th quarter worth $26,000. Legg Mason Asset Management Japan Co. Ltd. purchased a new stake in shares of Avista during the 4th quarter worth $56,000. First Hawaiian Bank purchased a new stake in shares of Avista during the 4th quarter worth $66,000. Finally, Quantamental Technologies LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Avista during the 4th quarter worth $148,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 75.69% of the company’s stock.

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Avista Company Profile (NYSE:AVA)

Avista Corporation operates as an electric and natural gas utility company. It operates through two segments, Avista Utilities and AEL&P. The Avista Utilities segment provides electric distribution and transmission, and natural gas distribution services in parts of eastern Washington and northern Idaho; and natural gas distribution services in parts of northeastern and southwestern Oregon, as well as generates electricity in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Montana.

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