Alon USA Energy Inc. (NYSE:ALJ) shares gapped up prior to trading on Friday . The stock had previously closed at $7.17, but opened at $7.25. Alon USA Energy shares last traded at $7.33, with a volume of 886,910 shares changing hands.

A number of research firms recently commented on ALJ. Credit Suisse Group AG reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $9.00 price objective on shares of Alon USA Energy in a report on Friday, July 29th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Alon USA Energy from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 21st. Barclays PLC raised Alon USA Energy from an “underweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and cut their target price for the company from $10.00 to $8.00 in a research report on Wednesday, July 13th. Wells Fargo & Co. reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Alon USA Energy in a research report on Sunday, July 10th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut their target price on Alon USA Energy from $8.00 to $7.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, June 10th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and five have given a hold rating to the company. Alon USA Energy has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $9.50.

The company’s market cap is $537.32 million. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $6.73 and a 200-day moving average price of $8.93.

Alon USA Energy (NYSE:ALJ) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 28th. The company reported ($0.21) earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of ($0.19) by $0.02. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.67 earnings per share. The firm had revenue of $1.01 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $883.85 million. Alon USA Energy’s quarterly revenue was down 22.5% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Alon USA Energy Inc. will post ($1.12) EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, September 6th. Stockholders of record on Friday, August 19th will be paid a dividend of $0.15 per share. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, August 17th. This represents a $0.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 7.93%.

In other news, insider David Wiessman sold 175,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $6.90, for a total transaction of $1,207,500.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 2,910,541 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $20,082,732.90. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, VP Michael Oster sold 47,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $8.19, for a total transaction of $384,930.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 62,300 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $510,237. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Several hedge funds and institutional investors have modified their holdings of ALJ. Systematic Financial Management LP boosted its position in shares of Alon USA Energy by 281.1% in the fourth quarter. Systematic Financial Management LP now owns 457,097 shares of the company’s stock worth $6,783,000 after buying an additional 337,157 shares during the period. Matarin Capital Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Alon USA Energy during the fourth quarter worth about $2,540,000. Cornerstone Capital Management Holdings LLC. raised its stake in shares of Alon USA Energy by 0.7% in the fourth quarter. Cornerstone Capital Management Holdings LLC. now owns 153,359 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,276,000 after buying an additional 1,058 shares during the period. Finally, BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA raised its stake in shares of Alon USA Energy by 40.1% in the fourth quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 112,816 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,674,000 after buying an additional 32,288 shares during the period.

Alon USA Energy, Inc is an independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products, operating primarily in the South Central, Southwestern and Western regions of the United States. The Company operates through three segments: refining and marketing, asphalt and retail. Its refineries produce petroleum products, including various grades of gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, petrochemicals, petrochemical feedstocks, asphalt and other petroleum-based products.

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