Chesapeake Utilities (CPK) Upgraded to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Chesapeake Utilities (NYSE:CPK) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note released on Friday. They currently have $79.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Chesapeake Utilities Corporation is a utility company engaged in natural gas distribution and transmission, propane distribution and marketing, advanced information services and other related businesses.Chesapeake’s three natural gas distribution divisions serve residential, commercial and industrial customers in southern Delaware, Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Florida. The Company’s natural gas transmission subsidiary operates an interstate pipeline system that transports gas from various points in Pennsylvania to Delaware and Maryland distribution divisions. “

Separately, Seaport Global Securities restated a neutral rating on shares of Chesapeake Utilities in a research report on Monday, March 5th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, one has issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $79.67.

Shares of Chesapeake Utilities (NYSE:CPK) traded up $1.10 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $71.40. The stock had a trading volume of 186,237 shares, compared to its average volume of 40,023. The stock has a market capitalization of $1,149.01, a PE ratio of 20.11, a PEG ratio of 3.41 and a beta of 0.26. Chesapeake Utilities has a one year low of $66.35 and a one year high of $86.35. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.41, a quick ratio of 0.38 and a current ratio of 0.43.

Chesapeake Utilities (NYSE:CPK) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, February 28th. The utilities provider reported $0.93 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.89 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $180.40 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $147.85 million. Chesapeake Utilities had a return on equity of 10.10% and a net margin of 9.41%. analysts predict that Chesapeake Utilities will post 3.44 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, April 5th. Investors of record on Thursday, March 15th will be given a dividend of $0.325 per share. This represents a $1.30 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.82%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 14th. Chesapeake Utilities’s payout ratio is 36.62%.

In other Chesapeake Utilities news, insider John R. Schimkaitis sold 2,500 shares of Chesapeake Utilities stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, January 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $76.65, for a total transaction of $191,625.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director Thomas P. Hill, Jr. purchased 1,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, December 21st. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $75.62 per share, with a total value of $75,620.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. 4.16% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Chesapeake Utilities in the 3rd quarter valued at about $207,000. JPMorgan Chase & Co. bought a new stake in shares of Chesapeake Utilities in the 3rd quarter valued at about $229,000. Telemus Capital LLC bought a new stake in shares of Chesapeake Utilities in the 4th quarter valued at about $237,000. Northeast Financial Consultants Inc bought a new stake in shares of Chesapeake Utilities in the 4th quarter valued at about $282,000. Finally, Victory Capital Management Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Chesapeake Utilities by 40.8% in the 3rd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 3,750 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $293,000 after acquiring an additional 1,087 shares during the last quarter. 62.34% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Chesapeake Utilities

Chesapeake Utilities Corporation (Chesapeake) is an energy company. The Company operates through two segments: Regulated Energy and Unregulated Energy. The Company provides natural gas distribution and transmission; natural gas supply, gathering, processing and marketing; electric distribution and generation; propane distribution; propane and crude oil wholesale marketing; steam generation, and other energy-related services.

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