Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) to Buy

Energy Transfer Partners (NYSE:ETP) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday. The brokerage currently has a $24.00 price target on the pipeline company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective would suggest a potential upside of 10.24% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Energy Transfer Partners is well poised to grow on the back of its geographically dispersed asset mix. Major projects including Rover, Bakken and Permian Express 3 Pipelines are expected to further strengthen the growth momentum of the partnership in the future. ETP’s M&A deals with Sunoco and Penn Tex has boosted the growth and value of the partnership leading to various synergies. Energy Transfer Partners' growing distribution coverage ratio further boosts investors' confidence in the stock. The partnership's recent announcement to merge with its general partner also bodes well. These positives are also reflected in the ETP's stock movement, which rallied 21.4% over a year, handily outperforming the industry's growth of 0.8%. On the account of all these factors, ETP is upgraded to 'Buy'.”

A number of other equities analysts have also recently weighed in on ETP. ValuEngine raised shares of Energy Transfer Partners from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, August 3rd. Wolfe Research raised shares of Energy Transfer Partners from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research report on Friday, August 3rd. UBS Group increased their price target on shares of Energy Transfer Partners from $29.00 to $31.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, August 10th. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $27.00 price target (up previously from $24.00) on shares of Energy Transfer Partners in a research report on Friday, August 10th. Finally, Morgan Stanley reaffirmed an “equal weight” rating and set a $27.00 price target (up previously from $22.00) on shares of Energy Transfer Partners in a research report on Friday, August 3rd. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $24.70.

NYSE:ETP opened at $21.77 on Tuesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.05, a current ratio of 0.99 and a quick ratio of 0.80. The stock has a market capitalization of $25.96 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 30.17, a PEG ratio of 1.65 and a beta of 1.28. Energy Transfer Partners has a 1-year low of $15.06 and a 1-year high of $24.38.

Energy Transfer Partners (NYSE:ETP) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 8th. The pipeline company reported $0.05 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.17 by ($0.12). The firm had revenue of $9.41 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $8.52 billion. Energy Transfer Partners had a net margin of 8.24% and a return on equity of 8.00%. As a group, sell-side analysts expect that Energy Transfer Partners will post 0.97 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, CEO Kelcy L. Warren purchased 366,446 shares of Energy Transfer Partners stock in a transaction dated Friday, September 7th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $22.11 per share, with a total value of $8,102,121.06. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CFO Thomas E. Long purchased 10,000 shares of Energy Transfer Partners stock in a transaction dated Friday, September 14th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $22.33 per share, for a total transaction of $223,300.00. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 174,625 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,899,376.25. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders have bought 2,010,000 shares of company stock worth $45,080,386 in the last ninety days. Corporate insiders own 3.74% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of ETP. Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors LP lifted its holdings in Energy Transfer Partners by 2.0% in the first quarter. Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors LP now owns 34,311,750 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $556,518,000 after acquiring an additional 657,243 shares during the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp lifted its holdings in Energy Transfer Partners by 2.7% in the first quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 599,208 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $9,719,000 after acquiring an additional 15,742 shares during the last quarter. Sei Investments Co. lifted its holdings in Energy Transfer Partners by 14.8% in the first quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 45,649 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $741,000 after acquiring an additional 5,877 shares during the last quarter. Baird Financial Group Inc. lifted its holdings in Energy Transfer Partners by 28.3% in the first quarter. Baird Financial Group Inc. now owns 74,589 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $1,210,000 after acquiring an additional 16,436 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Allianz Asset Management GmbH lifted its holdings in Energy Transfer Partners by 55.6% in the first quarter. Allianz Asset Management GmbH now owns 404,738 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $6,565,000 after acquiring an additional 144,592 shares during the last quarter. 61.41% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Energy Transfer Partners

Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. engages in the natural gas midstream, and intrastate transportation and storage businesses in the United States. The company's Intrastate Transportation and Storage segment transports natural gas from various natural gas producing areas through connections with other pipeline systems, as well as through its ET Fuel System and HPL System.

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