Russell Investments Group Ltd. Decreases Position in Northwest Natural Holding (NYSE:NWN)

Russell Investments Group Ltd. decreased its stake in Northwest Natural Holding (NYSE:NWNGet Rating) by 92.3% in the 1st quarter, Holdings Channel.com reports. The institutional investor owned 5,728 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after selling 68,464 shares during the quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd.’s holdings in Northwest Natural were worth $295,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently modified their holdings of the company. C M Bidwell & Associates Ltd. purchased a new stake in shares of Northwest Natural in the first quarter worth about $36,000. IFM Investors Pty Ltd purchased a new position in Northwest Natural in the first quarter valued at about $209,000. Wedge Capital Management L L P NC purchased a new position in Northwest Natural in the first quarter valued at about $215,000. Alberta Investment Management Corp purchased a new position in Northwest Natural in the fourth quarter valued at about $224,000. Finally, Guardian Wealth Management Inc. purchased a new position in Northwest Natural in the fourth quarter valued at about $229,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 64.11% of the company’s stock.

Northwest Natural Trading Down 1.9 %

Shares of NYSE NWN opened at $50.41 on Wednesday. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $52.68 and its two-hundred day moving average price is $51.85. Northwest Natural Holding has a 52-week low of $43.07 and a 52-week high of $57.63. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.73 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.25, a PEG ratio of 4.91 and a beta of 0.45. The company has a quick ratio of 0.54, a current ratio of 0.66 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.92.

Northwest Natural (NYSE:NWNGet Rating) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 4th. The utilities provider reported $0.05 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of ($0.04) by $0.09. The firm had revenue of $194.96 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $157.21 million. Northwest Natural had a return on equity of 7.87% and a net margin of 8.27%. Northwest Natural’s revenue for the quarter was up 30.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted ($0.02) earnings per share. On average, analysts anticipate that Northwest Natural Holding will post 2.5 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Northwest Natural Dividend Announcement

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, August 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, July 29th were given a dividend of $0.482 per share. This represents a $1.93 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.82%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, July 28th. Northwest Natural’s payout ratio is 77.51%.

Wall Street Analysts Forecast Growth

A number of research analysts recently commented on the company. Bank of America raised Northwest Natural from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $53.00 price target for the company in a report on Tuesday, May 24th. StockNews.com downgraded Northwest Natural from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and four have issued a hold rating to the company. According to data from MarketBeat, Northwest Natural presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $53.60.

Insider Transactions at Northwest Natural

In other news, VP David A. Weber sold 1,436 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.22, for a total transaction of $76,423.92. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 171 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,100.62. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. In related news, CEO David Hugo Anderson sold 1,127 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, June 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.44, for a total value of $59,099.88. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 125,675 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,590,397. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, VP David A. Weber sold 1,436 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.22, for a total value of $76,423.92. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 171 shares in the company, valued at $9,100.62. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.84% of the company’s stock.

Northwest Natural Company Profile

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Northwest Natural Holding Company, through its subsidiary, Northwest Natural Gas Company, provides regulated natural gas distribution services to residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation customers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. The company also operates 5.7 billion cubic feet of the Mist gas storage facility contracted to other utilities and third-party marketers; offers natural gas asset management services; and operates an appliance retail center.

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