Alon USA Energy Inc. (NYSE:ALJ) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Alon USA Energy, Inc. is an independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products, operating primarily in the Southwestern and South Central regions of the United States. Alon markets gasoline and diesel products under the FINA brand name and is a leading producer of asphalt in the State of Texas. The Company also operates convenience stores in West Texas and New Mexico under the 7-Eleven and FINA brand names and supplies motor fuels to these stores from its Big Spring refinery. “

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Citigroup Inc. initiated coverage on shares of Alon USA Energy in a research report on Wednesday, September 14th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $10.50 target price for the company. Barclays PLC raised shares of Alon USA Energy from an “underweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and dropped their price objective for the company from $10.00 to $8.00 in a report on Wednesday, July 13th. Credit Suisse Group AG reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $9.00 price objective on shares of Alon USA Energy in a report on Friday, July 29th. Wells Fargo & Co. reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Alon USA Energy in a report on Sunday, July 10th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. dropped their price objective on shares of Alon USA Energy from $8.00 to $7.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a report on Friday, June 10th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $9.19.

Analyst Recommendations for Alon USA Energy (NYSE:ALJ)

Shares of Alon USA Energy (NYSE:ALJ) opened at 8.40 on Tuesday. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $7.79 and a 200 day moving average of $8.36. Alon USA Energy has a 12-month low of $5.86 and a 12-month high of $19.84. The company’s market cap is $596.23 million.

Alon USA Energy (NYSE:ALJ) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, July 28th. The company reported ($0.21) EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of ($0.19) by $0.02. The business earned $1.01 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $883.85 million. Alon USA Energy had a negative net margin of 1.75% and a negative return on equity of 2.29%. Alon USA Energy’s quarterly revenue was down 22.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.67 earnings per share. Analysts forecast that Alon USA Energy will post ($1.10) earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, September 6th. Shareholders of record on Friday, August 19th were paid a dividend of $0.15 per share. This represents a $0.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 7.14%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, August 17th. Alon USA Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently -61.86%.

In other news, VP Michael Oster sold 18,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $7.33, for a total value of $135,605.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 47,553 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $348,563.49. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider David Wiessman sold 175,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $6.90, for a total transaction of $1,207,500.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 2,910,541 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $20,082,732.90. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 8.80% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of ALJ. BlackRock Group LTD raised its position in Alon USA Energy by 35.7% in the first quarter. BlackRock Group LTD now owns 14,599 shares of the company’s stock valued at $150,000 after buying an additional 3,837 shares during the last quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp raised its position in Alon USA Energy by 31.6% in the second quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp now owns 17,965 shares of the company’s stock valued at $116,000 after buying an additional 4,313 shares during the last quarter. Parametrica Management Ltd acquired a new position in Alon USA Energy during the first quarter valued at approximately $200,000. Janus Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in Alon USA Energy during the second quarter valued at approximately $150,000. Finally, Acrospire Investment Management LLC acquired a new position in Alon USA Energy during the first quarter valued at approximately $243,000. 50.46% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Alon USA Energy Company Profile

Alon USA Energy, Inc is an independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products, operating primarily in the South Central, Southwestern and Western regions of the United States. The Company operates through three segments: refining and marketing, asphalt and retail. Its refineries produce petroleum products, including various grades of gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, petrochemicals, petrochemical feedstocks, asphalt and other petroleum-based products.

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