Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Ecopetrol (NYSE:EC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday morning. The firm currently has $29.00 target price on the oil and gas company’s stock.
According to Zacks, “In Colombia, Ecopetrol is the largest energy firm with an integrated business model. The company’s businesses are well diversified, extending from oil and natural gas exploration & production activities to transporting crude volumes along with refining and distributing petroleum products. With the ‘oilier’ nature of its volume mix position, Ecopetrol is capitalizing on strengthening crude prices. Notably, to reach its production growth target for 2018, the company is planning to drill more than 620 development wells, up from 491 in 2017. In fact, to bump up drilling and production activities, Ecopetrol is planning to employ significantly higher rigs through second-half 2018. Moreover, interests in biofuel businesses reflect the company’s strong focus on capitalizing on the growing demand for cost-effective cleaner energy.”
EC has been the subject of a number of other reports. Citigroup raised Ecopetrol from a sell rating to a neutral rating in a report on Thursday, August 2nd. ValuEngine downgraded Ecopetrol from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Friday, August 3rd. Finally, Raymond James raised Ecopetrol from an underperform rating to a market perform rating in a report on Monday. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $17.67.
Ecopetrol (NYSE:EC) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, August 14th. The oil and gas company reported $0.60 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.58 by $0.02. Ecopetrol had a net margin of 17.52% and a return on equity of 11.69%. The firm had revenue of $5.95 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.99 billion. Equities analysts forecast that Ecopetrol will post 2.06 EPS for the current fiscal year.
A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Stifel Financial Corp boosted its holdings in Ecopetrol by 22.4% in the first quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 12,531 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $239,000 after purchasing an additional 2,297 shares in the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp boosted its holdings in shares of Ecopetrol by 2.0% in the second quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 263,076 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $5,406,000 after acquiring an additional 5,145 shares during the period. Atria Investments LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Ecopetrol by 32.3% in the second quarter. Atria Investments LLC now owns 21,663 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $445,000 after acquiring an additional 5,289 shares during the period. Segall Bryant & Hamill LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Ecopetrol by 54.0% in the second quarter. Segall Bryant & Hamill LLC now owns 15,400 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $316,000 after acquiring an additional 5,400 shares during the period. Finally, Nomura Asset Management Co. Ltd. boosted its holdings in shares of Ecopetrol by 32.7% in the second quarter. Nomura Asset Management Co. Ltd. now owns 24,803 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $510,000 after acquiring an additional 6,117 shares during the period. 2.85% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Ecopetrol SA operates as an integrated oil and gas company. It operates through three segments: Exploration and Production; Refining, Petrochemical, and Biofuels; and Transport and Logistics. The company produces crude oil and gas; and engages in the extraction, collection, treatment, storage and pumping or compression of hydrocarbons.
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