Zacks Investment Research upgraded
Southwest Gas Corporation
) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) on Apr 9, 2013.
Why the Upgrade?
ATMOS ENERGY CP (ATO): Free Stock Analysis
CHESAPEAKE UTIL (CPK): Free Stock Analysis
LACLEDE GRP INC (LG): Free Stock Analysis
SOUTHWEST GAS (SWX): Free Stock Analysis
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Southwest Gas Corporation impressed all with its fourth quarter
and year 2012 results and its increase in quarterly dividend
rate, announced on Feb 26 and Feb 27, respectively. Shares since
then have grown by 8% as well as the earnings estimate witnessed
an upward trend.
The gas utility reported a 17.7% year-over-year increase in its
earnings per share in 2012. Revenue increased by 2.2% year over
year, driven by healthy performance at the company's natural gas
segment. Growth in revenue was partially offset by an increase in
Besides the earnings results, Southwest Gas raised its quarterly
dividend rate by 11.9% to $0.33 per share. The revised quarterly
dividend rate is equivalent to $1.32 per share of annual dividend
per share, reflecting a 12% increase over the prior rate of
Positive earnings surprise in three out of four trailing
quarters, with an average positive earnings surprise of 25.4%,
has raised our optimism for better results ahead for Southwest
Gas. For 2013 and 2014, we have an Earnings ESP (Read: Zacks
Earnings ESP: A Better Method) of +0.4% and +1.7%, respectively.
Also in the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013
increased by 1.8% to $2.89 while that for 2014 the estimate went
up 3.5% to $2.98.
Other Stocks to Consider
Southwest Gas Corporation is a $2.2 billion gas utility operating
in Arizona, Nevada, and California. Other stocks to watch out for
in the industry are
Chesapeake Utilities Corporation
), with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) while
Atmos Energy Corporation
The Laclede Group, Inc.
), each has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).