Hess (HES) Lifted to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Hess (NYSE:HES) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Tuesday. They currently have $70.00 price target on the oil and gas producer’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Hess has implemented a cost reduction program beginning 2018, which is likely to result in annual savings of $150 million. Moreover, Hess has made world-class oil discoveries at the Stabroek Block, located off the coast of Guyana.  Hess estimated the gross recoverable resources from the block has increased to 3.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) from 2.25-2.75 billion boe. On top of that, the company has also initiated an accelerated share repurchase plan. Also, Hess is among the leading producers of crude in the Bakken oil shale play in North Dakota. The company has interests in the best areas of the play. Hess’ total expenses during the first quarter of 2018 fell nearly 12% from the year-ago period.”

A number of other research firms also recently issued reports on HES. ValuEngine raised shares of Hess from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, May 2nd. KLR Group downgraded shares of Hess from a buy rating to a hold rating and lifted their price objective for the stock from $63.00 to $64.00 in a report on Thursday, April 26th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Macquarie downgraded shares of Hess from an outperform rating to a neutral rating in a report on Thursday, April 26th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Barclays set a $47.00 price objective on shares of Hess and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Sunday, March 4th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group set a $48.00 price objective on shares of Hess and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Friday, April 13th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Hess currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $53.40.

Hess opened at $66.89 on Tuesday, according to Marketbeat.com. Hess has a 52-week low of $37.25 and a 52-week high of $68.40. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.53, a current ratio of 2.63 and a quick ratio of 2.51.

Hess (NYSE:HES) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, April 25th. The oil and gas producer reported ($0.27) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of ($0.50) by $0.23. Hess had a negative net margin of 69.10% and a negative return on equity of 8.54%. The company had revenue of $1.39 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.23 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted ($1.07) EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 10.8% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts expect that Hess will post -0.89 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, June 29th. Shareholders of record on Monday, June 18th were paid a $0.25 dividend. This represents a $1.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.49%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, June 15th. Hess’s dividend payout ratio is presently -21.69%.

Hess announced that its board has authorized a stock repurchase program on Thursday, March 8th that allows the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the oil and gas producer to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are usually a sign that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Adams Natural Resources Fund Inc. bought a new stake in Hess in the fourth quarter worth $8,174,000. Brown Advisory Inc. raised its stake in shares of Hess by 15.4% during the fourth quarter. Brown Advisory Inc. now owns 83,590 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock valued at $3,968,000 after acquiring an additional 11,160 shares during the last quarter. American International Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Hess by 5.7% during the fourth quarter. American International Group Inc. now owns 141,973 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock valued at $6,739,000 after acquiring an additional 7,678 shares during the last quarter. Bluestein R H & Co. raised its stake in shares of Hess by 448.6% during the fourth quarter. Bluestein R H & Co. now owns 85,575 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock valued at $4,062,000 after acquiring an additional 69,975 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Clearline Capital LP bought a new position in shares of Hess during the fourth quarter valued at about $477,000. 94.92% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Hess Company Profile

Hess Corporation, an exploration and production company, develops, produces, purchases, transports, and sells crude oil, natural gas liquids (NGLs), and natural gas. It operates through two segments, Exploration and Production, and Midstream. The company conducts production operations primarily in the United States, Denmark, the Malaysia/Thailand Joint Development Area, and Malaysia; and exploration activities primarily offshore Guyana, Suriname, Canada, and in the Gulf of Mexico.

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