Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Encana Corp. (NYSE:ECA) from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Encana has one of the largest natural gas resource portfolios in North America, providing a diverse and high quality inventory of reserves. We are impressed by the company’s cost reduction initiatives. Additionally, the steps undertaken by Encana to divest high-cost low-profit gas assets will increase its financial flexibility and fund the transition to a more diversified oil and gas firm. The sale of its Gordondale shale properties in Alberta is a case in point, which not only strengthened its balance sheet but also reduced its future spending commitments. However, ECA’s profit is influenced by commodity price fluctuations. With both oil and gas prices still remaining on the lower side, Encana's revenues, earnings and cash flows will be affected. Also, the recent equity offering – despite helping ECA to pay down debt and boost drilling – has significantly diluted existing shareholders' equity.”

Other equities research analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. AltaCorp Capital lowered shares of Encana Corp. from a sector perform rating to an underperform rating in a report on Friday, July 22nd. FirstEnergy Capital upgraded shares of Encana Corp. from a market perform rating to an outperform rating in a report on Tuesday, July 26th. Macquarie lowered shares of Encana Corp. from a neutral rating to an underperform rating in a report on Thursday, June 23rd. KLR Group began coverage on shares of Encana Corp. in a report on Monday, August 29th. They issued a hold rating and a $10.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada lowered their target price on shares of Encana Corp. from $10.00 to $9.00 and set a sector perform rating on the stock in a report on Monday, September 12th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $9.71.

Shares of Encana Corp. (NYSE:ECA) opened at 9.509 on Wednesday. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $9.57 and its 200-day moving average price is $7.78. Encana Corp. has a one year low of $3.00 and a one year high of $10.75. The company’s market cap is $8.08 billion.

Encana Corp. (NYSE:ECA) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 21st. The company reported $0.10 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of ($0.09) by $0.19. Encana Corp. had a negative net margin of 81.73% and a positive return on equity of 0.79%. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted ($0.20) EPS. On average, analysts expect that Encana Corp. will post ($0.10) EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 30th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th will be issued a $0.015 dividend. This represents a $0.06 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.64%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, September 13th. Encana Corp.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently -1.79%.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. First Manhattan Co. increased its position in Encana Corp. by 70.1% in the first quarter. First Manhattan Co. now owns 72,718 shares of the company’s stock valued at $442,000 after buying an additional 29,970 shares during the period. Swiss National Bank increased its position in shares of Encana Corp. by 5.2% in the second quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 4,808,100 shares of the company’s stock valued at $37,219,000 after buying an additional 238,500 shares during the last quarter. Tobam purchased a new position in shares of Encana Corp. during the first quarter valued at approximately $727,000. Pacad Investment Ltd. purchased a new position in shares of Encana Corp. during the first quarter valued at approximately $1,518,000. Finally, UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. increased its position in shares of Encana Corp. by 8.6% in the first quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 2,120,040 shares of the company’s stock valued at $12,982,000 after buying an additional 168,638 shares during the last quarter. 64.68% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Encana Corp. Company Profile

Encana Corp is a Canada-based energy producer, which is engaged in the business of exploration, development, production and marketing of natural gas, oil and natural gas liquids (NGLs). The Company’s operations also include the marketing of natural gas, oil and NGLs. All of its reserves and production are located in North America.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:ECA

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