U.S. Silica Holdings Inc (NYSE:SLCA) hit a new 52-week low during mid-day trading on Thursday after Zacks Investment Research downgraded the stock from a hold rating to a strong sell rating. The stock traded as low as $17.91 and last traded at $18.77, with a volume of 149672 shares. The stock had previously closed at $18.96.

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued research reports about the stock. Credit Suisse Group lifted their target price on shares of U.S. Silica from $36.00 to $38.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 1st. Wells Fargo & Co began coverage on shares of U.S. Silica in a research note on Saturday, September 15th. They set a “buy” rating and a $24.00 target price on the stock. Stifel Nicolaus lowered their target price on shares of U.S. Silica from $26.00 to $24.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday. Barclays set a $40.00 target price on shares of U.S. Silica and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 1st. Finally, Jefferies Financial Group set a $37.00 target price on shares of U.S. Silica and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 1st. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. U.S. Silica presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $32.74.

In other news, EVP Bradford B. Casper purchased 1,500 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, September 28th. The shares were purchased at an average price of $18.96 per share, with a total value of $28,440.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 18,552 shares in the company, valued at approximately $351,745.92. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Bryan Adair Shinn acquired 2,200 shares of U.S. Silica stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 27th. The stock was bought at an average price of $18.45 per share, for a total transaction of $40,590.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the chief executive officer now owns 126,243 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,329,183.35. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have bought 9,614 shares of company stock worth $178,565. Corporate insiders own 1.40% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. BlackRock Inc. raised its holdings in U.S. Silica by 6.1% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 11,068,906 shares of the mining company’s stock valued at $284,360,000 after buying an additional 634,747 shares during the period. LSV Asset Management raised its holdings in U.S. Silica by 4,355.2% in the 2nd quarter. LSV Asset Management now owns 3,965,084 shares of the mining company’s stock valued at $101,863,000 after buying an additional 3,876,084 shares during the period. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its holdings in U.S. Silica by 8.3% in the 2nd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 3,654,500 shares of the mining company’s stock valued at $93,887,000 after buying an additional 281,567 shares during the period. Fuller & Thaler Asset Management Inc. raised its holdings in U.S. Silica by 1.4% in the 2nd quarter. Fuller & Thaler Asset Management Inc. now owns 2,336,162 shares of the mining company’s stock valued at $60,016,000 after buying an additional 31,363 shares during the period. Finally, Federated Investors Inc. PA raised its holdings in U.S. Silica by 7.9% in the 2nd quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA now owns 1,891,901 shares of the mining company’s stock valued at $48,603,000 after buying an additional 138,716 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 99.21% of the company’s stock.

The firm has a market cap of $1.46 billion, a PE ratio of 12.25 and a beta of 2.16. The company has a current ratio of 2.88, a quick ratio of 2.27 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.99.

U.S. Silica (NYSE:SLCA) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 31st. The mining company reported $0.64 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.67 by ($0.03). The company had revenue of $427.40 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $455.35 million. U.S. Silica had a net margin of 10.79% and a return on equity of 13.14%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 47.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.38 earnings per share. As a group, analysts forecast that U.S. Silica Holdings Inc will post 2.58 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, October 3rd. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 14th were paid a dividend of $0.0625 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, September 13th. This represents a $0.25 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.36%. U.S. Silica’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 16.67%.

About U.S. Silica (NYSE:SLCA)

U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc produces and sells commercial silica in the United States. The company operates through two segments, Oil & Gas Proppants and Industrial & Specialty Products. It offers whole grain commercial silica products to be used as fracturing sand in connection with oil and natural gas recovery; and resin coated proppants, as well as sells its whole grain silica products in various size distributions, grain shapes, and chemical purity levels for manufacturing glass products.

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