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

A number of research firms have issued reports on GLNG. Stifel Nicolaus reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Golar LNG in a report on Saturday, April 30th. DNB Markets lowered shares of Golar LNG from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, April 29th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Golar LNG from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, April 12th. Jefferies Group reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Golar LNG in a report on Wednesday, June 1st. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein lowered shares of Golar LNG from a “buy” rating to a “sell” rating and reduced their target price for the stock from $38.00 to $10.00 in a report on Thursday, June 30th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $34.80.

The firm’s market cap is $1.63 billion. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $16.44 and a 200 day moving average of $17.36.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, July 7th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, June 15th were paid a dividend of $0.05 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, June 13th. This represents a $0.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.13%.

A number of large investors have added to or reduced their stakes in GLNG. California State Teachers Retirement System increased its stake in 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 in the last quarter. State Board of Administration of Florida Retirement System increased its stake in 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 in the last quarter. Quantitative Investment Management LLC increased its stake in 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 in the last quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund increased its stake in 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 in the last quarter. Finally, Trexquant Investment LP acquired a new stake in Golar LNG during the fourth quarter valued at about $1,924,000.

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).

Get Analysts' Upgrades and Downgrades Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of analysts' upgrades, downgrades and new coverage with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.