Ecopetrol (EC) Cut to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Ecopetrol (NYSE:EC) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “In Colombia, Ecopetrol is the largest energy firm with an integrated business model. The company’s businesses are well diversified, extending from oil and natural gas exploration & production activities to transporting crude volumes along with refining and distributing petroleum products. With the ‘oilier’ nature of its volume mix position, Ecopetrol is capitalizing on strengthening crude prices. Notably, to reach its production growth target for 2018, the company is planning to drill more than 620 development wells, up from 491 in 2017.  However, high oil prices have been affecting the company’s refining businesses. On top of that, inspite of the company’s huge capital spending, the company projected production between 715 MBoE/D and 725 MBoE/D, marginally higher than last year’s output of 715 MBoE/D. Hence, the inefficient use of capital could hurt the company’s growth.”

Several other research firms also recently weighed in on EC. Citigroup upgraded shares of Ecopetrol from a “sell” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Thursday, August 2nd. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Ecopetrol from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, August 3rd. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and five have given a hold rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $17.67.

Shares of EC opened at $25.59 on Thursday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.15, a current ratio of 1.45 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.68. The stock has a market capitalization of $52.12 billion, a PE ratio of 14.24, a P/E/G ratio of 0.84 and a beta of 1.27. Ecopetrol has a 52-week low of $9.81 and a 52-week high of $27.96.

Ecopetrol (NYSE:EC) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 14th. The oil and gas company reported $0.60 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.58 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $5.95 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.99 billion. Ecopetrol had a net margin of 17.52% and a return on equity of 11.69%. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Ecopetrol will post 2.08 EPS for the current fiscal year.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of EC. Acadian Asset Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Ecopetrol by 54.4% during the 2nd quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC now owns 9,879,374 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $203,014,000 after purchasing an additional 3,479,971 shares during the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC boosted its stake in shares of Ecopetrol by 0.3% during the 2nd quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 7,149,900 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $146,930,000 after purchasing an additional 18,700 shares during the last quarter. Legal & General Group Plc boosted its stake in shares of Ecopetrol by 11.0% during the 1st quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 1,272,272 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $24,587,000 after purchasing an additional 125,761 shares during the last quarter. Fisher Asset Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Ecopetrol during the 2nd quarter worth about $15,187,000. Finally, Global X Management Co LLC boosted its stake in shares of Ecopetrol by 8.5% during the 2nd quarter. Global X Management Co LLC now owns 703,483 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $14,457,000 after purchasing an additional 55,206 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 2.85% of the company’s stock.

Ecopetrol Company Profile

Ecopetrol SA operates as an integrated oil and gas company. It operates through three segments: Exploration and Production; Refining, Petrochemical, and Biofuels; and Transport and Logistics. The company produces crude oil and gas; and engages in the extraction, collection, treatment, storage and pumping or compression of hydrocarbons.

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