Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Among independent refiners, Valero has the most diversified refinery base. Also, Valero’s dividend yield is attractive and is much higher than the industry. It is to be noted that improving throughput volume on the back of higher refinery utilization rates has been rewarding Valero over the past four quarters. Following this development, the company managed to surpass the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the prior four quarters. Also, Valero’s price performance looks lucrative as reflected by the company’s 13.3% gain year to date as compared with 2% improvement of the industry. However, we are concerned about the company’s escalating debt levels over the past six quarters. Also, increased operating expenses in the first half of 2017 owing to heavy maintenance activities is a concern.”

Other equities research analysts have also issued research reports about the company. Standpoint Research started coverage on Valero Energy Corporation in a research report on Friday, June 30th. They issued an “accumulate” rating and a $84.00 price target on the stock. Royal Bank Of Canada restated a “buy” rating and set a $77.00 target price on shares of Valero Energy Corporation in a research report on Thursday, August 31st. Jefferies Group LLC cut their target price on Valero Energy Corporation from $80.00 to $78.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, August 23rd. Scotiabank set a $70.00 target price on Valero Energy Corporation and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, June 26th. Finally, Citigroup Inc. cut their target price on Valero Energy Corporation from $70.00 to $68.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research report on Monday, July 17th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $75.97.

Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO) traded down 0.09% during trading on Tuesday, reaching $77.35. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,202,349 shares. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $73.20 and a 200-day moving average price of $67.63. Valero Energy Corporation has a 52-week low of $53.60 and a 52-week high of $78.64. The stock has a market cap of $34.16 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.09 and a beta of 1.21.

Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The oil and gas company reported $1.23 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.08 by $0.15. Valero Energy Corporation had a return on equity of 8.59% and a net margin of 2.17%. The firm had revenue of $22.25 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $19.32 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $1.07 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 13.6% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts expect that Valero Energy Corporation will post $4.52 earnings per share for the current year.

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In related news, Director Stephen M. Waters sold 656 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.86, for a total transaction of $49,764.16. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, CFO Michael S. Ciskowski sold 53,012 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.88, for a total value of $3,863,514.56. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 67,413 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,913,059.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 55,168 shares of company stock valued at $4,015,279 over the last ninety days. 0.45% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Independent Portfolio Consultants Inc. increased its position in shares of Valero Energy Corporation by 62.2% during the second quarter. Independent Portfolio Consultants Inc. now owns 1,614 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $109,000 after acquiring an additional 619 shares during the last quarter. First Personal Financial Services increased its position in shares of Valero Energy Corporation by 13.6% during the second quarter. First Personal Financial Services now owns 1,636 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $110,000 after acquiring an additional 196 shares during the last quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America increased its position in shares of Valero Energy Corporation by 0.6% during the first quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America now owns 1,746 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $116,000 after acquiring an additional 11 shares during the last quarter. Ffcm LLC increased its position in shares of Valero Energy Corporation by 189.4% during the second quarter. Ffcm LLC now owns 1,881 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $128,000 after acquiring an additional 1,231 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Manchester Capital Management LLC increased its position in shares of Valero Energy Corporation by 16.9% during the second quarter. Manchester Capital Management LLC now owns 2,076 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $140,000 after acquiring an additional 300 shares during the last quarter. 80.63% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Valero Energy Corporation Company Profile

Valero Energy Corporation (Valero) is an independent petroleum refiner and ethanol producer. The Company’s segments include refining, ethanol and Valero Energy Partners LP (VLP). The refining segment includes its refining operations and the associated marketing activities. The ethanol segment includes its ethanol operations and the associated marketing activities, and logistics assets that support its ethanol operations.

Analyst Recommendations for Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO)

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