Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Hess Corporation (NYSE:HES) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Hess is among the leading producers of crude in the Bakken oil shale play in North Dakota. With crude prices improving from last year’s historical low marks after OPEC decided to curb output, we believe that Bakken play should contribute to the company’s production growth in the long run.  The company’s effort to downsize its business will go a long way in the current market of volatile commodity prices. As part of this initiative, it is focusing more on the U.S. as it exits some countries due to size disadvantages. Hess has also increased its 2017 capital budget by about 18% year over year to $2.3 billion. Although increasing capital spending amid improving oil prices looks attractive, the history for ROC investment is not at all favorable for investors. Moreover, the company’s price chart reveals that shares have underperformed the broader industry, over the last three months.”

Other research analysts have also recently issued research reports about the stock. BMO Capital Markets set a $55.00 target price on shares of Hess Corporation and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Saturday, June 17th. Scotiabank set a $50.00 target price on shares of Hess Corporation and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Saturday, July 1st. Wolfe Research cut shares of Hess Corporation from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a report on Monday, July 17th. Cowen and Company set a $50.00 target price on shares of Hess Corporation and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, July 19th. Finally, Atlantic Securities cut shares of Hess Corporation from an overweight rating to a neutral rating and lowered their target price for the company from $68.00 to $45.00 in a report on Tuesday, June 27th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $51.92.

Shares of Hess Corporation (NYSE:HES) traded up 1.79% during midday trading on Thursday, reaching $44.99. 2,619,759 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. Hess Corporation has a 1-year low of $37.25 and a 1-year high of $65.56. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $43.06 and its 200 day moving average price is $44.65. The stock’s market capitalization is $14.14 billion.

Hess Corporation (NYSE:HES) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, July 26th. The oil and gas producer reported ($1.46) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of ($1.32) by ($0.14). Hess Corporation had a negative net margin of 118.07% and a negative return on equity of 8.49%. The company had revenue of $1.23 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.19 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted ($1.10) EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts predict that Hess Corporation will post ($4.78) earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 29th. Investors of record on Monday, September 18th were paid a dividend of $0.25 per share. This represents a $1.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.22%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, September 15th. Hess Corporation’s dividend payout ratio is currently -5.18%.

In other news, insider Brian D. Truelove sold 6,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, September 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $42.53, for a total value of $255,180.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Barbara J. Lowery-Yilmaz sold 3,873 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $43.47, for a total transaction of $168,359.31. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 21,599 shares of company stock valued at $873,466. 11.80% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. D Orazio & Associates Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Hess Corporation by 266.7% in the 1st quarter. D Orazio & Associates Inc. now owns 2,200 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock worth $106,000 after acquiring an additional 1,600 shares during the period. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Hess Corporation by 7.3% in the 2nd quarter. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. now owns 2,464 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock worth $108,000 after acquiring an additional 167 shares during the period. Korea Investment CORP lifted its stake in shares of Hess Corporation by 142.0% in the 2nd quarter. Korea Investment CORP now owns 2,645 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock worth $116,000 after acquiring an additional 1,552 shares during the period. Lenox Wealth Advisors Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Hess Corporation in the 2nd quarter worth $132,000. Finally, Advisor Group Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Hess Corporation by 9.7% in the 2nd quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 4,107 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock worth $167,000 after acquiring an additional 362 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 87.20% of the company’s stock.

Hess Corporation Company Profile

Hess Corporation is an exploration and production company. The Company is engaged in exploration, development, production, transportation, purchase and sale of crude oil, natural gas liquids (NGL) and natural gas. The Company’s segments include Exploration and Production, and Bakken Midstream. Its Exploration and Production segment explores for, develops, produces, purchases and sells crude oil, NGLs and natural gas with production operations primarily in the United States, Denmark, Equatorial Guinea, the Malaysia/Thailand Joint Development Area (JDA), Malaysia and Norway.

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