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Shares of the Merillville, Ind.-based energy company hit a 52-week high of $24.73 on Monday. The stock's 52-week low of $17.95 was set on Aug. 9.
NiSource's stock trades at an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 16.3X; the average for gas distribution companies is 18.39X. For comparison,
Spectra Energy(SE) has a lower forward P/E of 15.59X;
Oneok's(OKE) forward P/E is 19.94X.
Nine of the 11 analysts who cover NiSource rate at it hold. One analyst gives the stock a buy rating and another rates it at sell.
"We believe 2012 will have multiple positive catalysts for the shares including raising the dividend and establishing a payout policy, additional infrastructure opportunities in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays, and incremental detail around the transmission pipe modernization opportunity," KeyBanc Capital Markets analysts wrote in a March 21 report.
TheStreet Ratings gives NiSource a B grade with a buy rating and
$31.83 price target.