Golar LNG Ltd. (NASDAQ:GLNG) shot up 6.6% on Wednesday . The company traded as high as $17.67 and last traded at $17.64, with a volume of 925,860 shares changing hands. The stock had previously closed at $16.55.

A number of brokerages have weighed in on GLNG. Jefferies Group raised Golar LNG from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their target price for the company from $19.00 to $39.00 in a research report on Friday, April 22nd. Zacks Investment Research lowered Golar LNG from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, April 19th. DNB Markets lowered Golar LNG from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, April 29th. Credit Suisse Group AG reaffirmed an “outperform” rating on shares of Golar LNG in a research report on Wednesday, June 1st. Finally, Nordea Equity Research raised Golar LNG from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 1st. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has issued a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $34.10.

The firm has a 50-day moving average of $16.48 and a 200 day moving average of $17.46. The firm’s market cap is $1.68 billion.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, July 7th. Investors 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 1.12%.

A number of hedge funds and institutional investors have modified their holdings of the company. Morgan Stanley raised its position in shares of Golar LNG by 153.5% in the fourth quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 1,713,618 shares of the company’s stock valued at $27,058,000 after buying an additional 1,037,709 shares during the last quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA raised its position in shares of Golar LNG by 5,703.9% in the fourth quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 886,898 shares of the company’s stock valued at $14,004,000 after buying an additional 871,617 shares during the last quarter. Trexquant Investment LP acquired a new position in shares of Golar LNG during the fourth quarter valued at $1,924,000. Finally, New York State Common Retirement Fund raised 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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