U.S. Silica (NYSE:SLCA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Monday.
According to Zacks, “U.S. Silica should gain from its expansion actions in the Permian Basin. The Sandbox buyout is also expected to make a meaningful contribution in 2018. U.S. Silica is also focusing on preserving capital and reducing costs. However, U.S. Silica is seeing significant cash outflows as reflected by sizable capital spending, which will hurt its ability to generate free cash flows. It also faces pricing and volume pressure which may affect its margins. The company is also seeing an erosion in contribution margins. An uncertain demand environment for frac sand is another concern. The company has also underperformed the industry it belongs to over a year.”
Several other equities research analysts have also issued reports on the company. B. Riley lowered their price objective on U.S. Silica from $40.00 to $38.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research note on Tuesday, February 27th. Royal Bank of Canada set a $36.00 price target on U.S. Silica and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, February 23rd. Morgan Stanley set a $47.00 price target on U.S. Silica and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, February 23rd. SunTrust Banks reduced their price objective on U.S. Silica to $38.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, February 22nd. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co restated an “outperform” rating and set a $31.00 price objective (down from $41.00) on shares of U.S. Silica in a report on Thursday, February 22nd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and nineteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $44.57.
In other news, Director Diane K. Duren purchased 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, February 26th. The stock was bought at an average price of $25.96 per share, with a total value of $259,600.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 12,168 shares in the company, valued at approximately $315,881.28. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director William Jennings Kacal purchased 20,300 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, February 23rd. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $25.78 per share, with a total value of $523,334.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders bought a total of 38,200 shares of company stock valued at $1,038,997 in the last three months. Insiders own 1.00% of the company’s stock.
A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in U.S. Silica by 5.2% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 10,676,019 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $347,610,000 after acquiring an additional 530,193 shares during the period. Ariel Investments LLC lifted its holdings in shares of U.S. Silica by 2.5% in the 4th quarter. Ariel Investments LLC now owns 4,899,994 shares of the mining company’s stock valued at $159,544,000 after buying an additional 119,149 shares during the period. Van Berkom & Associates Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of U.S. Silica by 4.1% in the 3rd quarter. Van Berkom & Associates Inc. now owns 1,850,760 shares of the mining company’s stock valued at $57,503,000 after buying an additional 73,679 shares during the period. Victory Capital Management Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of U.S. Silica by 0.9% in the 4th quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 1,444,958 shares of the mining company’s stock valued at $47,047,000 after buying an additional 13,352 shares during the period. Finally, Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its stake in shares of U.S. Silica by 19.8% in the 3rd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 1,435,705 shares of the mining company’s stock valued at $44,606,000 after purchasing an additional 237,041 shares in the last quarter. 99.30% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
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U.S. Silica Company Profile
U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc is a domestic producer of commercial silica, a specialized mineral that is an input into a range of end markets. The Company operates in two segments: Oil & Gas Proppants, and Industrial & Specialty Products. In the Oil & Gas Proppants segment, it serves the oil and gas recovery market providing fracturing sand, or frac sand, which is pumped down oil and natural gas wells to prop open rock fissures and manage the flow rate of natural gas and oil from the wells.
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