ConocoPhillips (COP) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Friday.

According to Zacks, “ConocoPhillips is one of the largest exploration and production players in the world, considering proved reserves and production parameters. We appreciate the company’s initiative to divest non-core assets as the explorer could divert the proceeds toward oil-rich Eagle Ford shale and Permian Basin. It is to be noted that during 2017, ConocoPhillips generated $16 billion from the asset sale program. The company also enhanced its share buyback program. Additionally, through 2017, ConocoPhillips’s cash and equivalents grew around 176% while long term debt fell almost 35%, reflecting strength in the company’s balance sheet. However, we are also concerned with ConocoPhillips’ expectation for higher production and operating expenses. For 2018, the firm projects production and operating expenses at $5.7 billion, higher than $5.2 billion for 2017.”

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Several other analysts have also recently commented on COP. Howard Weil cut ConocoPhillips from a focus list rating to an outperform rating and set a $58.00 price target for the company. in a report on Friday, December 22nd. Macquarie started coverage on ConocoPhillips in a report on Wednesday, January 17th. They issued an outperform rating for the company. Cowen set a $70.00 price target on ConocoPhillips and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Thursday, January 18th. Morgan Stanley raised their price target on ConocoPhillips from $48.00 to $65.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a report on Wednesday, January 24th. Finally, Piper Jaffray reissued a buy rating and issued a $63.00 price target on shares of ConocoPhillips in a report on Wednesday, January 24th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and fifteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $61.92.

ConocoPhillips stock opened at $65.79 on Friday. ConocoPhillips has a twelve month low of $42.26 and a twelve month high of $67.30. The company has a quick ratio of 1.64, a current ratio of 1.76 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.56. The company has a market cap of $77,275.48, a price-to-earnings ratio of 109.65, a P/E/G ratio of 2.09 and a beta of 1.23.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 1st. The energy producer reported $0.45 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.45. ConocoPhillips had a positive return on equity of 2.81% and a negative net margin of 2.04%. The company had revenue of $8.74 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $7.70 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned ($0.26) EPS. research analysts forecast that ConocoPhillips will post 3.07 EPS for the current year.

ConocoPhillips declared that its board has authorized a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, February 1st that permits the company to repurchase $500.00 million in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the energy producer to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are often a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, SVP Andrew D. Lundquist sold 25,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, March 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.96, for a total value of $1,474,000.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 27,353 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,612,732.88. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Company insiders own 0.88% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd. increased its position in ConocoPhillips by 468.8% during the fourth quarter. Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd. now owns 1,820 shares of the energy producer’s stock worth $100,000 after buying an additional 1,500 shares in the last quarter. Rocky Mountain Advisers LLC increased its position in ConocoPhillips by 140.2% during the third quarter. Rocky Mountain Advisers LLC now owns 2,392 shares of the energy producer’s stock worth $120,000 after buying an additional 1,396 shares in the last quarter. Truewealth LLC purchased a new position in ConocoPhillips during the fourth quarter worth $138,000. Valeo Financial Advisors LLC purchased a new position in ConocoPhillips during the third quarter worth $142,000. Finally, Highlander Capital Management LLC increased its position in ConocoPhillips by 74.6% during the third quarter. Highlander Capital Management LLC now owns 2,856 shares of the energy producer’s stock worth $143,000 after buying an additional 1,220 shares in the last quarter. 71.14% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About ConocoPhillips

ConocoPhillips explores for, produces, transports, and markets crude oil, bitumen, natural gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and natural gas liquids worldwide. Its portfolio includes North American tight oil and oil sands assets in Canada; conventional assets in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia; various LNG developments; and an inventory of conventional and unconventional exploration prospects.

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