Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO) Downgraded to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Tuesday, October 17th.

According to Zacks, “Among independent refiners, Valero has the most diversified refinery base. Also, Valero’s dividend yield is attractive and is much higher than the industry. It is to be noted that improving throughput volume on the back of higher refinery utilization rates has been rewarding Valero over the past four quarters. Following this development, the company managed to surpass the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the prior four quarters. Also, Valero’s price performance looks lucrative as reflected by the company’s 13.3% gain year to date as compared with 2% improvement of the industry. However, we are concerned about the company’s escalating debt levels over the past six quarters. Also, increased operating expenses in the first half of 2017 owing to heavy maintenance activities is a concern.”



Several other equities analysts have also commented on the stock. US Capital Advisors lowered shares of Valero Energy Corporation from an overweight rating to a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, August 17th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Valero Energy Corporation from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 12th. Jefferies Group LLC upgraded shares of Valero Energy Corporation from a hold rating to a buy rating and increased their price target for the company from $65.00 to $80.00 in a research note on Thursday, June 22nd. Citigroup Inc. dropped their price target on shares of Valero Energy Corporation from $70.00 to $68.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, July 17th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG reiterated a hold rating and issued a $73.00 price target (up from $65.00) on shares of Valero Energy Corporation in a research note on Wednesday, September 20th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Valero Energy Corporation presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $77.19.

Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO) opened at 77.75 on Tuesday. The company has a market cap of $34.34 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.19 and a beta of 1.22. The company’s 50-day moving average is $74.98 and its 200-day moving average is $68.29. Valero Energy Corporation has a 12 month low of $57.40 and a 12 month high of $78.64.

Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The oil and gas company reported $1.91 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.83 by $0.08. The firm had revenue of $23.56 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $19.42 billion. Valero Energy Corporation had a net margin of 2.33% and a return on equity of 9.93%. The firm’s revenue was up 19.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.24 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts expect that Valero Energy Corporation will post $4.75 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In other Valero Energy Corporation news, CFO Michael S. Ciskowski sold 53,012 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, September 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $72.88, for a total value of $3,863,514.56. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 67,413 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,913,059.44. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Stephen M. Waters sold 656 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.86, for a total value of $49,764.16. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 55,168 shares of company stock valued at $4,015,279. Corporate insiders own 0.45% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America lifted its holdings in Valero Energy Corporation by 0.6% in the first quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America now owns 1,746 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $116,000 after acquiring an additional 11 shares during the period. BKD Wealth Advisors LLC lifted its holdings in Valero Energy Corporation by 0.4% in the second quarter. BKD Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 6,542 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $441,000 after acquiring an additional 24 shares during the period. Brown Advisory Securities LLC lifted its holdings in Valero Energy Corporation by 0.7% in the first quarter. Brown Advisory Securities LLC now owns 3,815 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $254,000 after acquiring an additional 25 shares during the period. Eads & Heald Investment Counsel lifted its holdings in Valero Energy Corporation by 0.3% in the second quarter. Eads & Heald Investment Counsel now owns 8,420 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $568,000 after acquiring an additional 25 shares during the period. Finally, Ferguson Wellman Capital Management Inc. lifted its holdings in Valero Energy Corporation by 0.7% in the second quarter. Ferguson Wellman Capital Management Inc. now owns 4,140 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $279,000 after acquiring an additional 30 shares during the period. 80.59% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Valero Energy Corporation

Valero Energy Corporation (Valero) is an independent petroleum refiner and ethanol producer. The Company’s segments include refining, ethanol and Valero Energy Partners LP (VLP). The refining segment includes its refining operations and the associated marketing activities. The ethanol segment includes its ethanol operations and the associated marketing activities, and logistics assets that support its ethanol operations.

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