Sempra Energy (SRE) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “Sempra Energy appears to be well positioned, given its stable earnings from utility subsidiaries. The company's future cash inflow will likely get tailwinds from LNG development prospects and renewable expansion. Steady focus on the expansion of its renewable capacity will enable the company to provide emission-free power to its customers. However, Sempra Energy’s share price has underperformed the broader industry price over the last one year as it continues to face headwinds in the form of stringent government regulations and operational risks. Further it is exposed to foreign currency risks because of its international presence and has to invest substantially to expand its operations. Also a few pending regulatory cases for Sempra Energy’s regulated utilities are subject to approvals by regulatory bodies.”

Other equities research analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. Guggenheim reiterated a buy rating and set a $121.00 price objective on shares of Sempra Energy in a research note on Monday, November 7th. Barclays PLC increased their price objective on shares of Sempra Energy from $108.00 to $113.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 8th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $113.62.

Shares of Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE) opened at 104.33 on Thursday. Sempra Energy has a 52-week low of $92.95 and a 52-week high of $114.66. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $102.31 and its 200-day moving average is $103.61. The firm has a market capitalization of $26.12 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.36 and a beta of 0.47.

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The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 17th. Shareholders of record on Saturday, December 10th were given a $0.375 dividend. This represents a $1.50 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.44%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, December 7th. Sempra Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 57.41%.

In other Sempra Energy news, insider Steven D. Davis sold 2,233 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, February 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $105.00, for a total value of $234,465.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 20,567 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,159,535. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, VP Jeffrey W. Martin sold 4,266 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, January 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $100.95, for a total transaction of $430,652.70. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 1,266 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $127,802.70. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 80,258 shares of company stock valued at $8,241,773. 0.16% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. State Street Corp boosted its position in Sempra Energy by 2.6% in the fourth quarter. State Street Corp now owns 14,126,943 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,423,130,000 after buying an additional 359,647 shares during the period. Capital Research Global Investors boosted its position in Sempra Energy by 0.4% in the third quarter. Capital Research Global Investors now owns 11,080,864 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,187,758,000 after buying an additional 46,441 shares during the period. BlackRock Fund Advisors boosted its position in Sempra Energy by 5.0% in the third quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 7,636,694 shares of the company’s stock valued at $818,577,000 after buying an additional 365,932 shares during the period. Capital International Investors boosted its position in Sempra Energy by 11.7% in the third quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 7,382,367 shares of the company’s stock valued at $791,316,000 after buying an additional 774,193 shares during the period. Finally, BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. boosted its position in Sempra Energy by 4.0% in the third quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 6,507,233 shares of the company’s stock valued at $697,510,000 after buying an additional 250,591 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 79.34% of the company’s stock.

About Sempra Energy

Sempra Energy is a holding company. The Company’s principal operating units are San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas); Sempra International, which includes Sempra South American Utilities and Sempra Mexico segments, and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, which includes Sempra Renewables and Sempra Natural Gas segments.

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