Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Patterson-UTI Energy (PTEN) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Patterson-UTI Energy (NASDAQ:PTEN) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “Patterson-UTI's business is set to benefit from the recovery in land rig count and the bullishness in activity and pricing. As it is, PTEN’s proprietary design and technologically advanced ‘Apex’ rigs are better suited for the new demands of the exploration business thereby commanding higher dayrates and utilization than rigs from other land drillers. Further, the strategic acquisitions of Seventy-Seven and MS Energy have not only bolstered PTENs scale and customer base but will also provide a huge impetus to the earnings and revenues in the coming quarters. However, PTEN's earnings and revenue have been under pressure on sluggish pressure pumping operations, where segment margins are dragged down by oversupply and operational delays. Increase in direct operating costs and declining cash balance are other concerns in the Patterson-UTI story. Hence, PTEN warrants a cautious stance from the investors.”

PTEN has been the topic of several other research reports. Wolfe Research started coverage on Patterson-UTI Energy in a research note on Wednesday, October 10th. They set a peer perform rating on the stock. Bank of America started coverage on Patterson-UTI Energy in a research note on Wednesday, October 17th. They set a buy rating on the stock. ValuEngine lowered Patterson-UTI Energy from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 24th. BidaskClub lowered Patterson-UTI Energy from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a research note on Friday, October 26th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies set a $23.00 target price on Patterson-UTI Energy and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Friday, October 26th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $21.07.

Shares of Patterson-UTI Energy stock opened at $12.68 on Thursday. Patterson-UTI Energy has a 52 week low of $9.49 and a 52 week high of $23.99. The firm has a market capitalization of $2.76 billion, a PE ratio of -37.29 and a beta of 1.35. The company has a current ratio of 1.66, a quick ratio of 1.54 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.30.

Patterson-UTI Energy (NASDAQ:PTEN) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 7th. The oil and gas company reported ($0.04) EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.14) by $0.10. Patterson-UTI Energy had a negative return on equity of 1.93% and a negative net margin of 9.66%. The business had revenue of $795.90 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $797.10 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted ($0.10) EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 1.1% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts forecast that Patterson-UTI Energy will post -0.59 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 21st. Investors of record on Thursday, March 7th will be paid a dividend of $0.04 per share. This represents a $0.16 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.26%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 6th. Patterson-UTI Energy’s payout ratio is -47.06%.

Patterson-UTI Energy declared that its board has initiated a stock buyback program on Thursday, February 7th that permits the company to buyback $250.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the oil and gas company to reacquire up to 9% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are generally an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

In related news, Director Curtis W. Huff purchased 20,000 shares of Patterson-UTI Energy stock in a transaction on Wednesday, December 26th. The shares were bought at an average price of $10.14 per share, with a total value of $202,800.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 113,304 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,148,902.56. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. 3.70% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of PTEN. Quantamental Technologies LLC acquired a new stake in Patterson-UTI Energy in the 4th quarter valued at about $68,000. Meeder Asset Management Inc. acquired a new stake in Patterson-UTI Energy in the 4th quarter valued at about $69,000. Avestar Capital LLC acquired a new stake in Patterson-UTI Energy in the 4th quarter valued at about $81,000. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund raised its position in Patterson-UTI Energy by 933.4% in the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 906,764 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $88,000 after purchasing an additional 819,017 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Penserra Capital Management LLC raised its position in Patterson-UTI Energy by 112.3% in the 4th quarter. Penserra Capital Management LLC now owns 10,064 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $103,000 after purchasing an additional 5,324 shares in the last quarter. 95.91% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Patterson-UTI Energy

Patterson-UTI Energy, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides onshore contract drilling services to oil and natural gas operators in the United States and Canada. It operates through two segments, Contract Drilling and Pressure Pumping. The Contract Drilling segment markets its contract drilling services primarily in Texas, southeastern New Mexico, northern Louisiana, Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, western Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and western Canada.

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