Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR) Rating Increased to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Tuesday morning, Zacks.com reports. The brokerage currently has $36.00 price objective on the oil and natural gas company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Continental Resources has a premier position in the Bakken area. The shale play, which is ranked among the country’s largest onshore oilfields, produces premium quality of crude. Notably, in this region, the company is expected to have allocated roughly 50% of its capital budget for drilling and completion activities in 2019. This would lead to higher output and cashflow. Moreover, the company is committed to returning capital to shareholders since it initiates its quarterly dividend payment. However, lower commodity prices are affecting the company's bottom line. Moreover, total operating expenses are rising. Notably, for 2019, the company expects production expense per barrel of oil equivalent in the range of $3.50-$4.00, the top end of which is higher than $3.59 recorded in 2018. This could hurt its profit levels.”

Several other research analysts have also recently issued reports on CLR. KeyCorp lowered their price objective on Continental Resources from $47.00 to $40.00 and set an overweight rating for the company in a research report on Tuesday, October 15th. Wells Fargo & Co lowered their price objective on Continental Resources from $41.00 to $40.00 and set an overweight rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, January 9th. Credit Suisse Group cut Continental Resources from an outperform rating to a neutral rating and lowered their price objective for the stock from $42.00 to $34.00 in a research report on Friday, October 4th. Goldman Sachs Group cut Continental Resources from a neutral rating to a sell rating and lowered their price objective for the stock from $35.00 to $28.00 in a research report on Tuesday, December 17th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Citigroup cut Continental Resources from a buy rating to a neutral rating and lowered their price objective for the stock from $55.00 to $35.00 in a research report on Monday, September 23rd. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and fifteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $44.30.

NYSE:CLR opened at $34.29 on Tuesday. The stock has a 50-day simple moving average of $33.44 and a 200-day simple moving average of $32.75. The stock has a market cap of $12.40 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.07, a P/E/G ratio of 1.82 and a beta of 1.77. Continental Resources has a 1 year low of $27.26 and a 1 year high of $52.03. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.81, a quick ratio of 0.81 and a current ratio of 0.89.

Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 30th. The oil and natural gas company reported $0.54 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.44 by $0.10. The business had revenue of $1.10 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.08 billion. Continental Resources had a return on equity of 12.49% and a net margin of 17.00%. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 13.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.90 EPS. On average, equities research analysts predict that Continental Resources will post 2.2 EPS for the current year.

In related news, CEO Harold Hamm sold 600,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, December 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $33.58, for a total value of $20,148,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, President Jack H. Stark sold 20,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, December 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $34.23, for a total value of $701,715.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 1,212,496 shares of company stock valued at $40,910,039. Insiders own 77.03% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Phocas Financial Corp. purchased a new stake in Continental Resources during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $227,000. CSat Investment Advisory L.P. purchased a new stake in Continental Resources during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $32,000. Glen Harbor Capital Management LLC purchased a new stake in Continental Resources during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $38,000. Doyle Wealth Management purchased a new stake in Continental Resources during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $44,000. Finally, Atria Investments LLC purchased a new stake in Continental Resources during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $252,000. 18.98% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Continental Resources

Continental Resources, Inc explores for, develops, and produces crude oil and natural gas properties primarily in the north, south, and east regions of the United States. The company sells its crude oil and natural gas production to energy marketing companies, crude oil refining companies, and natural gas gathering and processing companies.

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