National Fuel Gas Company (NYSE: NFG): The Best-Of-Breed For Investing?

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SSgA Funds Management, Inc. recently announced the acquisition of new stake in National Fuel Gas Company (NYSE:NFG). The institutional investor has increased its shareholding in the Energy company by 1.03% to 9.13 million shares with purchase of 93111.0 shares. This fresh investment now brings its stake to 10.55% valued currently at $383.39 million. In addition, JPMorgan Investment Management, I… raised its holdings by 61801.0 to 4.05 million shares. And Invesco Advisers, Inc. has lifted its position by 23.14% or 0.35 million shares – to 1.88 million shares.

With over 0.51 million National Fuel Gas Company (NFG) shares trading Thursday and a closing price of $41.28 on the day, the dollar volume was approximately $20.97 million. The shares have shown a positive weekly performance of 3.20% and its price on 07/02/20 gained nearly 0.86%. Currently, there are 86.56M common shares owned by the public and among those 84.31M shares have been available to trade.

An analysis of what Wall Street brokers have to say about the expected price targets for this stock gives us this picture: 7 analysts who have offered their price forecasts for NFG have a consensus price objective of $48.00. The analysts have set the share’s price value over the next 12 months at a high of $54.00 and a low of $43.00 should the stock experience a downside. Incidentally, analysts’ outlook for the National Fuel Gas Company stock is 1.90 for the next 12 months. The average price target is 14.0% above its last price level and an upside to the estimated low will see the stock gain 4.0% over that period. But an upside of 23.56% will see the stock hit the forecast high price target while mean target price for the stock is $48.00.

Insiders at the company have transacted a total of 119 times over the past 12 months, according to data filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 79 of these insider trades were purchases, accounting for 90,828 shares. Insider sales of the common stock occurred on 40 occasions, with total insider shares sold totaling 35,200 shares.

The top 3 mutual fund holders in National Fuel Gas Company are SPDR S&P Dividend ETF, JPMorgan Mid Cap Value Fund, and Vanguard Total Stock Market Index. SPDR S&P Dividend ETF owns 4.37 million shares of the company’s stock, all valued at over $183.44 million. The company sold 9100.0 shares recently to bring their total holdings to about 5.05% of the shares outstanding. JPMorgan Mid Cap Value Fund has total holdings of 3.07 million shares valued at over $129.01 million and representing 3.55% of the shares outstanding. Vanguard Total Stock Market Index sold 11700.0 shares to bring its total holdings to over 2.41 million shares at a value of $101.07 million. Vanguard Total Stock Market Index now owns shares totaling to 2.78% of the shares outstanding.

Shares of National Fuel Gas Company (NYSE: NFG) opened at $41.25, up $0.32 from a prior closing price of $40.93. However, the script later closed the day at $41.28, up 0.86%. The company’s stock has a 5-day price change of 3.20% and 16.02% over the past three months. NFG shares are trading -11.30% year to date (YTD), with the 12-month market performance down to -23.43% lower. It has a 12-month low price of $31.58 and touched a high of $54.61 over the same period. Currently, 0.51 million shares have been traded, compared to an average intraday trading volume of 830.34K shares. The stock is trading above its simple moving averages at the SMA20, SMA50, and SMA200, as the current price level is off by -0.51%, -0.50%, and -3.44% respectively.

Institutional ownership of National Fuel Gas Company (NYSE: NFG) shares accounts for 74.80% of the company’s 86.56M shares outstanding. Mutual fund holders own 30.25%, while other institutional holders and individual stakeholders account for 47.06% and 12.92% respectively.

It has a market capitalization of $3.72B and a beta (3y monthly) value of 0.66. The stock’s trailing 12-month PE ratio is 39.31, while the earnings-per-share (ttm) stands at $1.05. The company has a PEG of 4.63 and a Quick Ratio of 0.80 with the debt-to-equity ratio at 1.14. Price movements for the stock have been influenced by the stock’s volatility, which stands at 3.04% over the week and 3.18% over the month.

Analysts forecast that National Fuel Gas Company (NFG) will achieve an EPS of $0.49 for the current quarter, $0.38 for the next quarter and $3.21 for 2021. The lowest estimate earnings-per-share for the quarter is $0.44 while analysts give the company a high EPS estimate of $0.54. Comparatively, EPS for the current quarter was $0.71 a year ago. Earnings per share for the fiscal year are expected to increase by 5.20%, and 12.55% over the next financial year. EPS should grow at an annualized rate of 8.50% over the next five years, compared to -0.10% over the past 5-year period.

If you are looking to buy this stock, then you may note that the average analyst recommendation by 7 brokerage firm advisors rate National Fuel Gas Company (NFG) as a “Strong Buy” at a consensus score of 1.90. Specifically, 4 Wall Street analysts polled rate the stock as a buy, while 2 of the 7 advise that investors “hold,” and 0 rated it as a “Sell.”

Looking at the support for the NFG, a number of firms have released research notes about the stock. Stifel stated their Buy rating for the stock in a research note on June 19, 2020, with the firm’s price target at $47. Argus coverage for the National Fuel Gas Company (NFG) stock in a research note released on June 01, 2020 offered a Buy rating with a price target of $47. Scotiabank was of a view on May 07, 2020 that the stock is Sector Outperform, while Raymond James gave the stock Outperform rating on May 07, 2020 $48. Jefferies on their part issued Buy rating on October 15, 2019.

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