Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of El Paso Electric (NYSE:EE) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Monday, Zacks.com reports. The firm currently has $74.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “El Paso Electric Company is a regional electric utility providing generation, transmission and distribution service to the retail and wholesale customers of the Rio Grande valley in west Texas and southern New Mexico. El Paso Electric is one of the largest employers in the City of El Paso. “

A number of other analysts also recently commented on the company. ValuEngine downgraded Intersect ENT from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Monday, June 3rd. Mizuho raised their price objective on El Paso Electric from $50.00 to $58.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research report on Friday, March 29th. Finally, TheStreet upgraded Viacom from a c+ rating to a b- rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 24th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. El Paso Electric presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $60.00.

EE opened at $66.10 on Monday. The company has a market cap of $2.68 billion, a P/E ratio of 28.37, a PEG ratio of 4.59 and a beta of 0.60. The business’s 50-day moving average is $64.05. El Paso Electric has a 52-week low of $47.99 and a 52-week high of $66.83. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.11, a quick ratio of 0.37 and a current ratio of 0.52.

El Paso Electric (NYSE:EE) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, May 8th. The utilities provider reported ($0.17) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.12 by ($0.29). El Paso Electric had a return on equity of 8.61% and a net margin of 10.79%. The company had revenue of $174.36 million for the quarter. On average, research analysts predict that El Paso Electric will post 2.62 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, June 28th. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 14th were given a $0.385 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, June 13th. This represents a $1.54 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.33%. This is an increase from El Paso Electric’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.36. El Paso Electric’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 66.09%.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in EE. Arizona State Retirement System raised its holdings in shares of El Paso Electric by 0.3% in the 1st quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 62,847 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,697,000 after buying an additional 182 shares in the last quarter. Sageworth Trust Co raised its holdings in shares of El Paso Electric by 30.8% in the 1st quarter. Sageworth Trust Co now owns 785 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $46,000 after buying an additional 185 shares in the last quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans raised its holdings in shares of El Paso Electric by 0.7% in the 4th quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 28,650 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,436,000 after buying an additional 192 shares in the last quarter. Summit Global Investments raised its holdings in shares of El Paso Electric by 1.7% in the 1st quarter. Summit Global Investments now owns 12,300 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $723,000 after buying an additional 200 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund raised its holdings in shares of El Paso Electric by 1.8% in the 1st quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 15,761 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $927,000 after buying an additional 285 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 94.24% of the company’s stock.

About El Paso Electric

El Paso Electric Co engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in West Texas and southern New Mexico. Its energy sources consist of nuclear fuel, natural gas, coal, wind turbines, and purchased power. The company’s electrical generating facilities include Palo Verde Station, Newman Power Station, Rio Grande Power Station, Four Corners Station, Copper Power Station, and Wind Ranch.

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