Birch Capital Management LLC lowered its holdings in shares of Essential Utilities, Inc. (NYSE:WTRG) by 32.1% in the first quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The firm owned 4,870 shares of the company’s stock after selling 2,303 shares during the period. Birch Capital Management LLC’s holdings in Essential Utilities were worth $218,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.
A number of other hedge funds also recently modified their holdings of the business. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in Essential Utilities by 4.2% during the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 23,447,202 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,108,818,000 after acquiring an additional 934,948 shares during the last quarter. Norges Bank acquired a new position in Essential Utilities during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $206,021,000. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its position in Essential Utilities by 2.2% during the fourth quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 2,611,497 shares of the company’s stock valued at $123,496,000 after purchasing an additional 57,246 shares in the last quarter. Morgan Stanley raised its position in Essential Utilities by 3.8% during the fourth quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 2,307,492 shares of the company’s stock valued at $109,121,000 after purchasing an additional 84,818 shares in the last quarter. Finally, KAMES CAPITAL plc acquired a new position in Essential Utilities during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $70,114,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 65.66% of the company’s stock.
Shares of NYSE WTRG traded down $0.18 during trading on Thursday, hitting $45.47. 6,023 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,136,796. The business’s fifty day moving average is $43.66 and its 200 day moving average is $45.68. Essential Utilities, Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $37.37 and a fifty-two week high of $48.89. The firm has a market capitalization of $11.17 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 39.70, a P/E/G ratio of 4.41 and a beta of 0.47. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.12, a quick ratio of 0.59 and a current ratio of 0.70.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, March 1st. Shareholders of record on Friday, February 12th were given a $0.251 dividend. This represents a $1.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.21%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, February 11th. Essential Utilities’s payout ratio is 68.03%.
A number of research firms have weighed in on WTRG. Barclays boosted their target price on shares of Essential Utilities from $50.00 to $55.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Friday, January 22nd. Robert W. Baird boosted their target price on shares of Essential Utilities from $46.00 to $53.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 13th. Finally, US Capital Advisors initiated coverage on shares of Essential Utilities in a report on Thursday, January 21st. They issued a “hold” rating on the stock. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, four have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $48.67.
About Essential Utilities
Essential Utilities, Inc, through its subsidiaries, operates regulated utilities that provide water, wastewater, or natural gas services in the United States. It offers water services through operating and maintenance contracts with municipal authorities and other parties. The company also provides non-utility raw water supply services for firms in the natural gas drilling industry; and water and sewer line protection solutions, and repair services to households through a third-party.
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