Ecopetrol (EC) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Ecopetrol (NYSE:EC) from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating in a research report report published on Tuesday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $29.00 target price on the oil and gas company’s stock.

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. In fact, to bump up drilling and production activities, Ecopetrol is planning to employ significantly higher rigs through second-half 2018. Moreover, interests in biofuel businesses reflect the company’s strong focus on capitalizing on the growing demand for cost-effective cleaner energy. “

Other research analysts have also issued reports about the stock. ValuEngine lowered shares of Ecopetrol from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Friday, August 3rd. Citigroup raised shares of Ecopetrol from a sell rating to a neutral rating in a research note on Thursday, August 2nd. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and five have given a hold rating to the company’s stock. Ecopetrol has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $17.67.

NYSE:EC opened at $25.35 on Tuesday. Ecopetrol has a 52 week low of $9.81 and a 52 week high of $27.96. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.68, a quick ratio of 1.15 and a current ratio of 1.45. The stock has a market cap of $53.21 billion, a PE ratio of 14.54, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.85 and a beta of 1.27.

Ecopetrol (NYSE:EC) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, August 14th. The oil and gas company reported $0.60 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.58 by $0.02. Ecopetrol had a return on equity of 11.69% and a net margin of 17.52%. The firm had revenue of $5.95 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.99 billion. As a group, analysts expect that Ecopetrol will post 2.08 EPS for the current fiscal year.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in EC. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. lifted its stake in Ecopetrol by 19.5% in the 1st quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 292,387 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $5,652,000 after purchasing an additional 47,680 shares in the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp lifted its stake in Ecopetrol by 7.1% in the 1st quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 257,931 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $4,986,000 after purchasing an additional 17,029 shares in the last quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund lifted its stake in Ecopetrol by 28.9% in the 1st quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund now owns 292,480 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $5,654,000 after purchasing an additional 65,573 shares in the last quarter. Stifel Financial Corp lifted its stake in Ecopetrol by 22.4% in the 1st quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 12,531 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $239,000 after purchasing an additional 2,297 shares in the last quarter. Finally, BB&T Securities LLC purchased a new position in Ecopetrol in the 1st quarter worth approximately $212,000. 2.85% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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