Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report issued on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Chesapeake has underperformed the broader market indices over the last year. The company has declined by 37.8%, in comparison; the industry has decreased by 10.1%, during the aforesaid period. Though Chesapeake’s ongoing asset monetization initiatives are working well, the company’s balance sheet is still more leveraged than its peers. The company’s debt to capitalization ratio stands at 104.44%, significantly higher than the industry’s 46.7%. At the end of the fourth quarter, the debt balance was $9.9 billion compared with negligible cash balance of $5 million in the balance sheet. This also restricts its ability to gain capital from markets and also reduces its credibility for shareholders.”

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Other equities analysts also recently issued reports about the company. UBS started coverage on Chesapeake Energy in a research note on Wednesday, March 7th. They issued a buy rating and a $2.80 price target for the company. SunTrust Banks reiterated a buy rating and issued a $6.00 price target on shares of Chesapeake Energy in a research note on Wednesday, January 3rd. Stephens reiterated a hold rating and issued a $5.00 price target on shares of Chesapeake Energy in a research note on Thursday, March 15th. Piper Jaffray Companies reiterated a hold rating and issued a $3.00 price target on shares of Chesapeake Energy in a research note on Thursday, March 15th. Finally, Scotiabank set a $4.00 target price on Chesapeake Energy and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 22nd. Eight research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have given a hold rating, five have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $4.90.

CHK stock opened at $3.23 on Wednesday. The company has a market capitalization of $2,827.74, a PE ratio of 3.89 and a beta of 1.90. Chesapeake Energy has a 52 week low of $2.53 and a 52 week high of $6.59. The company has a quick ratio of 0.65, a current ratio of 0.65 and a debt-to-equity ratio of -4.86.

Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 22nd. The oil and gas exploration company reported $0.30 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.25 by $0.05. The business had revenue of $2.52 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.26 billion. Chesapeake Energy had a negative return on equity of 32.26% and a net margin of 9.73%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 24.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.07 earnings per share. analysts anticipate that Chesapeake Energy will post 0.74 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Elkfork Partners LLC bought a new stake in shares of Chesapeake Energy during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $414,000. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of Chesapeake Energy during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $1,113,000. All Terrain Financial Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of Chesapeake Energy during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $170,000. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY bought a new stake in shares of Chesapeake Energy during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $568,000. Finally, Financial Partners Group Inc bought a new stake in shares of Chesapeake Energy during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $114,000. 61.89% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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About Chesapeake Energy

Chesapeake Energy Corporation produces natural gas, oil and natural gas liquids (NGL) in the United States. It operates in two segments: Exploration and Production, and Marketing, Gathering and Compression. Exploration and production is engaged in finding and producing oil, natural gas and NGL. Marketing, gathering and compression is engaged in marketing, gathering and compression of oil, natural gas and NGL.

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