Hess Corporation (HES) Cut to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Hess Corporation (NYSE:HES) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published 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 analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Scotiabank set a $53.00 price objective on shares of Hess Corporation and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, June 20th. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $47.00 price objective on shares of Hess Corporation and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Friday, August 25th. Barclays PLC restated an equal weight rating and issued a $50.00 price objective (down from $61.00) on shares of Hess Corporation in a research note on Wednesday, July 12th. Morgan Stanley restated an equal weight rating on shares of Hess Corporation in a research note on Saturday, September 16th. Finally, Cowen and Company set a $55.00 price objective on shares of Hess Corporation and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Monday, July 10th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $51.92.

Shares of Hess Corporation (NYSE HES) opened at 44.99 on Thursday. The company’s 50-day moving average is $43.06 and its 200 day moving average is $44.61. Hess Corporation has a 1-year low of $37.25 and a 1-year high of $65.56. The stock’s market cap is $14.14 billion.

Hess Corporation (NYSE:HES) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 26th. The oil and gas producer reported ($1.46) earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of ($1.32) by ($0.14). Hess Corporation had a negative return on equity of 8.49% and a negative net margin of 118.07%. The firm 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 firm posted ($1.10) earnings per share. Hess Corporation’s quarterly revenue was down 3.2% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts anticipate that Hess Corporation will post ($4.78) EPS for the current year.

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

In other news, COO Gregory P. Hill sold 11,726 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $38.37, for a total value of $449,926.62. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Brian D. Truelove sold 6,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, September 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $42.53, for a total transaction of $255,180.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 21,599 shares of company stock valued at $873,466. Corporate insiders own 11.80% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in HES. Stifel Financial Corp raised its stake in shares of Hess Corporation by 22.7% in the 1st quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 16,490 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock valued at $789,000 after buying an additional 3,056 shares in the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Hess Corporation by 1.9% in the 1st quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 406,760 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock valued at $19,610,000 after buying an additional 7,756 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC raised its stake in shares of Hess Corporation by 2.6% in the 1st quarter. FMR LLC now owns 4,317,393 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock valued at $208,142,000 after buying an additional 110,921 shares in the last quarter. Ngam Advisors L.P. raised its stake in shares of Hess Corporation by 12.6% in the 1st quarter. Ngam Advisors L.P. now owns 106,619 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock valued at $5,140,000 after buying an additional 11,906 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Chartwell Investment Partners LLC raised its stake in shares of Hess Corporation by 8.3% in the 1st quarter. Chartwell Investment Partners LLC now owns 65,000 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock valued at $3,134,000 after buying an additional 5,000 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 86.72% of the company’s stock.

About Hess Corporation

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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