Essential Utilities Inc (NYSE: WTRG) stock fell -1.52% on Monday to $35.03 against a previous-day closing price of $35.57. With 1.23 million shares changed hands, the volume of the stock remained lighter than its average volume of 1.46 million shares. During the session, the Utilities – Regulated Water company that operates in wider Utilities sector, reached to the highest price of $35.40 whereas the lowest price it dropped to was $34.74. The 52-week range on WTRG shows that it touched its highest point at $49.89 and its lowest point at $32.07 during that stretch. It currently has a 1-year price target of $47.50. With its current market cap of 9.57 billion, WTRG has annualized dividend of $1.20 while the current yield stands at 3.43%. Beta for the stock currently stands at 0.77.

Price Performance and Earnings:

Stock performance is one of the indicators that investors use to determine whether they will profit from a stock. The price performance of WTRG was up-trending over the past week, with a rise of 4.60%, but this was up by 6.41% over a month. Three-month performance dropped to -5.30% while six-month performance fell -13.55%. The stock lost -23.95% in the past year, while it has lost -26.61% so far this year. A look at the trailing 12-month EPS for WTRG yields 1.80 with Next year EPS estimates of 2.00. For the next quarter, that number is 0.51. This implies an EPS growth rate of 5.65% for this year and 6.97% for next year. EPS is expected to grow by 5.40% annually over the next five years; however, over the past five years, the company experienced an annual growth rate of 5.64%.

Float and Shares Shorts:

At present, 273.17 million WTRG shares are outstanding with a float of 272.53 million shares on hand for trading. On Oct 30, 2023, short shares totaled 3.94 million, which was 1.44% higher than short shares on Sep 28, 2023. In addition to Mr. Christopher H. Franklin as the firm’s Chairman, President & CEO, Mr. Daniel J. Schuller serves as its Executive VP & CFO.

Institutional Ownership:

Through their ownership of 77.16% of WTRG’s outstanding shares, institutional investors have majority control over the company. Other institutions hold 49.32% of WTRG, in contrast to 30.55% held by mutual funds. Shares owned by individuals account for 0.26%. As the largest shareholder in WTRG with 10.10% of the stake, The Vanguard Group, Inc. holds 26,726,181 shares worth 26,726,181. A second-largest stockholder of WTRG, BlackRock Fund Advisors, holds 21,788,541 shares, controlling over 8.24% of the firm’s shares. Canada Pension Plan Investment Bo is the third largest shareholder in WTRG, holding 21,661,095 shares or 8.19% stake. With a 8.19% stake in WTRG, the Canada Pension Plan is the largest stakeholder. A total of 21,661,000 shares are owned by the mutual fund manager. The iShares Core S&P Mid Cap ETF, which owns about 2.84% of WTRG stock, is the second-largest Mutual Fund holder. It holds 7,514,984 shares valued at 251.45 million. Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF holds 2.84% of the stake in WTRG, owning 7,502,147 shares worth 251.02 million.

Analysts Ratings:

Reading analyst opinions is an effective way to decide where to invest, and there are several opinions available for WTRG since 0 analysts follow the stock currently. In the same way, a target price assigned to a stock can also reveal much about its potential. With WTRG analysts setting a high price target of $61.00 and a low target of $40.00, the average target price over the next 12 months is $47.50. Based on these targets, WTRG could surge 74.14% to reach the target high and rise by 14.19% to reach the target low. Reaching the average price target will result in a growth of 35.6% from current levels.

Summary of Insider Activity:

Insiders traded WTRG stock several times over the past three months with 0 Buys and 0 Sells. In these transactions, 0 shares were bought while 0 shares were sold. The number of buy transactions has increased to 35 while that of sell transactions has risen to 9 over the past year. The total number of shares bought during that period was 173,389 while 59,081 shares were sold.

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