Murphy USA (NYSE:MUSA) Upgraded to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Murphy USA (NYSE:MUSA) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Monday morning, Zacks.com reports. The brokerage currently has $91.00 target price on the specialty retailer’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Murphy USA is a low-cost, high-volume fuel seller, whose stations are located near Walmart supercenters. This enables it to attract significantly more transactions than its peers. Murphy USA's access to pipelines and product distribution terminals is another key competitive advantage, helping to keep costs down in the fiercely competitive retail environment. The company's shareholder friendly capital allocation policy is another positive, while the successful rollout of the Murphy Drive Rewards program led to a surge in new customers. But as a counter to these strengths, the difficult retail gasoline price environment and higher operating expenses continue to affect top line performance. Moreover, the company will likely see lower profits from collapsing RIN prices. As such, Murphy USA is expected to perform in line with the broader market.”

Several other analysts have also issued reports on MUSA. ValuEngine lowered Zosano Pharma from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, May 1st. TheStreet lowered UDR from a b rating to a c rating in a report on Tuesday, April 30th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $84.00.

Shares of NYSE MUSA opened at $85.36 on Monday. The company has a current ratio of 1.15, a quick ratio of 0.81 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.05. The firm has a fifty day moving average price of $83.70. Murphy USA has a one year low of $69.98 and a one year high of $88.58. The firm has a market cap of $2.75 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.78, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 6.49 and a beta of 0.74.

Murphy USA (NYSE:MUSA) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Monday, April 29th. The specialty retailer reported $0.16 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.19 by ($0.03). Murphy USA had a net margin of 1.26% and a return on equity of 23.79%. The firm had revenue of $3.12 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.18 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $1.16 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 3.9% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, research analysts expect that Murphy USA will post 3.99 EPS for the current year.

In related news, Director Claiborne P. Deming sold 13,330 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $84.08, for a total value of $1,120,786.40. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 250,286 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $21,044,046.88. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, SVP John A. Moore sold 1,084 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $86.09, for a total value of $93,321.56. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 28,367 shares in the company, valued at $2,442,115.03. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 6.52% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Sanders Morris Harris LLC bought a new stake in Murphy USA in the second quarter worth approximately $291,000. WINTON GROUP Ltd increased its holdings in Murphy USA by 22.6% in the second quarter. WINTON GROUP Ltd now owns 6,256 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $526,000 after purchasing an additional 1,155 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC increased its holdings in Murphy USA by 92.3% in the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 975,626 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $83,532,000 after purchasing an additional 468,295 shares in the last quarter. Marshall Wace LLP bought a new stake in Murphy USA in the first quarter worth approximately $9,363,000. Finally, Jennison Associates LLC bought a new stake in Murphy USA in the first quarter worth approximately $762,000. 85.80% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Murphy USA

Murphy USA Inc operates a chain of retail stores in the United States. The company's retail stores offer motor fuel products and convenience merchandise. It operates retail stores under the Murphy USA and Murphy Express brand names. As of December 31, 2018, the company operated approximately 1,474 retail stores, including 1,160 Murphy USA and 312 are standalone Murphy Express stores located primarily in the Southwest, Southeast, and Midwest United States.

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