Valero Energy Corporation (VLO) Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday, October 17th.

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.”

VLO has been the subject of several other research reports. Citigroup Inc. decreased their target price on Valero Energy Corporation from $70.00 to $68.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a research report on Monday, July 17th. BidaskClub raised Valero Energy Corporation from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 12th. Jefferies Group LLC cut Valero Energy Corporation from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Monday, October 16th. US Capital Advisors cut Valero Energy Corporation from an overweight rating to a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, August 17th. Finally, Cowen and Company lifted their price objective on Valero Energy Corporation from $70.00 to $90.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research report on Thursday, September 28th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have given a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $77.19.

Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO) traded up $0.71 during trading hours on Tuesday, reaching $81.59. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,427,862 shares, compared to its average volume of 3,710,000. The company has a market cap of $35,720.00, a P/E ratio of 17.47, a PEG ratio of 1.70 and a beta of 1.17. Valero Energy Corporation has a 52 week low of $57.57 and a 52 week high of $82.19. The company has a current ratio of 2.05, a quick ratio of 1.31 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.40.

Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The oil and gas company reported $1.91 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.83 by $0.08. The firm had revenue of $23.56 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $19.42 billion. Valero Energy Corporation had a return on equity of 9.93% and a net margin of 2.33%. The firm’s revenue was up 19.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm earned $1.24 EPS. analysts anticipate that Valero Energy Corporation will post 4.77 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, December 12th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, November 21st will be issued a dividend of $0.70 per share. This represents a $2.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.43%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, November 20th. Valero Energy Corporation’s payout ratio is 69.31%.

In related news, Director Stephen M. Waters sold 656 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.86, for a total value of $49,764.16. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, CFO Michael S. Ciskowski sold 53,012 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $72.88, for a total value of $3,863,514.56. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 67,413 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,913,059.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 56,768 shares of company stock worth $4,141,471 over the last ninety days. Company insiders own 0.45% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Cable Hill Partners LLC raised its holdings in Valero Energy Corporation by 1,015.3% in the 3rd quarter. Cable Hill Partners LLC now owns 1,316 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $101,000 after acquiring an additional 1,198 shares during the period. Independent Portfolio Consultants Inc. increased its stake in Valero Energy Corporation by 62.2% in 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 stake in Valero Energy Corporation by 13.6% in 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 stake in Valero Energy Corporation by 0.6% in 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. Finally, Ffcm LLC boosted its position in Valero Energy Corporation by 189.4% in the second quarter. Ffcm LLC now owns 1,881 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $128,000 after buying an additional 1,231 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 80.70% of the company’s stock.

About Valero Energy Corporation

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.

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Analyst Recommendations for Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO)

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