Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE:NBL) shares shot up 3.8% during mid-day trading on Thursday . The stock traded as high as $35.22 and last traded at $35.14, with a volume of 1,783,848 shares traded. The stock had previously closed at $33.85.

Several research firms have issued reports on NBL. Simmons assumed coverage on shares of Noble Energy in a report on Wednesday, June 8th. They set an “overweight” rating and a $48.00 price target for the company. Credit Agricole SA assumed coverage on shares of Noble Energy in a research note on Wednesday, June 22nd. They issued an “outperform” rating for the company. Seaport Global Securities upgraded shares of Noble Energy from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their price objective for the company from $36.00 to $45.00 in a research note on Tuesday, June 7th. Sterne Agee CRT upgraded shares of Noble Energy from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their price objective for the company from $35.33 to $47.00 in a research note on Wednesday, May 25th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus lifted their price objective on shares of Noble Energy from $37.00 to $45.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 8th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and twenty-one have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $42.39.

The firm’s 50 day moving average is $35.35 and its 200 day moving average is $33.75. The company’s market cap is $15.02 billion.

Noble Energy (NYSE:NBL) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, August 3rd. The oil and gas development company reported ($0.24) EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of ($0.29) by $0.05. The company earned $847 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $909.36 million. The company’s revenue was up 14.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.26 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts predict that Noble Energy Inc. will post ($1.06) EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, August 22nd. Investors of record on Monday, August 8th will be given a dividend of $0.10 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, August 4th. This represents a $0.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.15%.

In related news, Director Thomas J. Edelman sold 12,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, June 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $35.09, for a total transaction of $421,080.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 3,032,978 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $106,427,198.02. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link.

Several large investors have added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Bridgewater Associates LP boosted its stake in Noble Energy by 8.8% in the fourth quarter. Bridgewater Associates LP now owns 131,562 shares of the oil and gas development company’s stock valued at $4,332,000 after buying an additional 10,610 shares during the period. American International Group Inc. boosted its stake in Noble Energy by 2.7% in the fourth quarter. American International Group Inc. now owns 177,584 shares of the oil and gas development company’s stock valued at $5,847,000 after buying an additional 4,679 shares during the period. RS Investment Management Co. LLC boosted its stake in Noble Energy by 13.0% in the fourth quarter. RS Investment Management Co. LLC now owns 1,586,741 shares of the oil and gas development company’s stock valued at $52,251,000 after buying an additional 182,385 shares during the period. BlackRock Advisors LLC boosted its stake in Noble Energy by 2.4% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Advisors LLC now owns 1,026,542 shares of the oil and gas development company’s stock valued at $33,804,000 after buying an additional 24,038 shares during the period. Finally, KBC Group NV boosted its stake in Noble Energy by 16.1% in the fourth quarter. KBC Group NV now owns 109,931 shares of the oil and gas development company’s stock valued at $3,620,000 after buying an additional 15,255 shares during the period.

Noble Energy, Inc is an independent energy company engaged in crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) exploration and production. The Company’s portfolio is diversified between short-term and long-term projects, domestic and international and a balanced production mix among crude oil, natural gas and NGLs.

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