Golar LNG Ltd. (NASDAQ:GLNG) shot up 6.8% during trading on Monday . The stock traded as high as $18.88 and last traded at $17.39, with a volume of 4,545,214 shares traded. The stock had previously closed at $16.29.

Several research firms recently commented on GLNG. DNB Markets upgraded shares of Golar LNG from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, July 1st. Sanford C. Bernstein downgraded shares of Golar LNG from a “buy” rating to a “sell” rating and cut their target price for the stock from $38.00 to $10.00 in a research report on Thursday, June 30th. ABN Amro downgraded shares of Golar LNG from a “buy” rating to a “sell” rating and cut their target price for the stock from $38.00 to $10.00 in a research report on Thursday, June 30th. Clarkson Capital reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Golar LNG in a research report on Friday, June 17th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Golar LNG from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 22nd. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $34.80.

The company’s market capitalization is $1.57 billion. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $16.38 and its 200-day moving average is $17.32.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, July 7th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, June 15th were given a $0.05 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Monday, June 13th. This represents a $0.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.16%.

A number of hedge funds and institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in GLNG. Quantitative Investment Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Golar LNG by 65.7% in the fourth quarter. Quantitative Investment Management LLC now owns 97,900 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,545,000 after buying an additional 38,800 shares during the last quarter. State Board of Administration of Florida Retirement System boosted its position in shares of Golar LNG by 9.8% in the fourth quarter. State Board of Administration of Florida Retirement System now owns 100,683 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,590,000 after buying an additional 8,948 shares during the last quarter. Trexquant Investment LP purchased a new position in shares of Golar LNG during the fourth quarter valued at about $1,924,000. California State Teachers Retirement System boosted its position in shares of Golar LNG by 1.7% in the fourth quarter. California State Teachers Retirement System now owns 171,975 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,715,000 after buying an additional 2,917 shares during the last quarter. Finally, New York State Common Retirement Fund boosted its position in shares of Golar LNG by 16.5% in the fourth quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund now owns 470,600 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,431,000 after buying an additional 66,500 shares during the last quarter.

Golar LNG Limited (Golar) is the owner and operator of liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers and floating storage regasification units (FSRUs). As of March 31, 2010, Golar had a fleet of 13 vessels, 10 LNG carriers, three FSRUs and a 50% interest in a further LNG carrier. On June 22, 2009, the Company formed a wholly owned subsidiary, Golar LNG Energy Limited (Golar Energy).

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