Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of China Petroleum & Chemical (NYSE:SNP) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “We appreciate Sinopec’s large-scale natural gas discoveries, especially in the Shunbei area in Xinjiang Tarim Basin, Hangjinqi of Nei Mongol, Dongpo of west Sichuan and Weirong block in southwestern Sichuan province, which will support long-term production. Sinopec’s dividend yield is also impressive and higher than that of the industry. Sinopec’s debt-to-capitalization ratio is 11.4%, significantly lower than the industry’s 49.4%. This reflects the company’s strong balance sheet. However, we believe Sinopec’s matured domestic oil fields and associated rising costs will remain an overhang on its operations. As it is, Sinopec’s operating expenses rose in 2017 and the trend continued through the first six months of 2018. Moreover, declining oil production amid recovering crude prices is hurting the company’s upstream business. Given these factors, we prefer to wait for a better entry point.”

Several other equities research analysts also recently commented on the stock. ValuEngine downgraded shares of China Petroleum & Chemical from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, September 6th. Goldman Sachs Group downgraded shares of China Petroleum & Chemical from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a research report on Monday, June 4th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $106.00.

Shares of NYSE:SNP traded up $0.60 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $98.92. The stock had a trading volume of 1,707 shares, compared to its average volume of 151,561. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.13, a quick ratio of 0.60 and a current ratio of 0.99. The company has a market cap of $119.34 billion, a PE ratio of 17.65, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.65 and a beta of 1.33. China Petroleum & Chemical has a 12-month low of $69.60 and a 12-month high of $105.61.

China Petroleum & Chemical (NYSE:SNP) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Sunday, August 26th. The oil and gas company reported $2.82 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.68 by $1.14. The business had revenue of $106.54 billion during the quarter. China Petroleum & Chemical had a net margin of 2.71% and a return on equity of 7.14%. equities analysts predict that China Petroleum & Chemical will post 9.72 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a special dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 28th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 6th will be given a $2.3455 dividend. This represents a dividend yield of 12.6%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, September 5th. This is an increase from China Petroleum & Chemical’s previous special dividend of $1.51. China Petroleum & Chemical’s dividend payout ratio is 74.69%.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of SNP. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company lifted its position in shares of China Petroleum & Chemical by 156.8% in the 1st quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 1,348 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $119,000 after acquiring an additional 823 shares in the last quarter. Whittier Trust Co. of Nevada Inc. lifted its position in shares of China Petroleum & Chemical by 49.5% in the 2nd quarter. Whittier Trust Co. of Nevada Inc. now owns 1,677 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $159,000 after acquiring an additional 555 shares in the last quarter. Signaturefd LLC increased its stake in China Petroleum & Chemical by 43.6% in the 2nd quarter. Signaturefd LLC now owns 1,913 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $172,000 after buying an additional 581 shares during the period. Suntrust Banks Inc. acquired a new position in China Petroleum & Chemical in the 1st quarter valued at approximately $206,000. Finally, Earnest Partners LLC increased its stake in China Petroleum & Chemical by 53.5% in the 2nd quarter. Earnest Partners LLC now owns 2,363 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $212,000 after buying an additional 824 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 1.04% of the company’s stock.

About China Petroleum & Chemical

China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, an energy and chemical company, engages in the oil and gas, and chemical operations and businesses in the People's Republic of China. It operates through five segments: Exploration and Production, Refining, Marketing and Distribution, Chemicals, and Corporate and Others.

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