Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Monday morning.

According to Zacks, “Over the past year, ConocoPhillips has rallied 64.2%, outperforming the 43.9% collective gain of the stocks belonging to the industry. The company’s initiative to divest non-core assets seems impressive as the explorer could divert the proceeds toward oil-rich Eagle Ford shale, Delaware basin and Bakken shale. In fact, there are significant opportunities for the firm in the Eagle Ford where it owns about 3,400 undrilled locations. Strong focus on these prospective resources is expected to help ConocoPhillips achieve its target of 22% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of oil-equivalent production through 2017 to 2020.  However, we are cautious about ConocoPhillips’ expectations of a rise in production and operating expenses. Moreover, ConocoPhillips’ long-term debt is more than double its cash balance, which is a concern.”

Several other research analysts have also weighed in on COP. Macquarie lowered shares of ConocoPhillips from an outperform rating to a neutral rating in a research report on Thursday, April 26th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. TheStreet upgraded shares of ConocoPhillips from a c+ rating to a b- rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 25th. Barclays upped their target price on shares of ConocoPhillips from $71.00 to $78.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research report on Friday, April 27th. Argus set a $76.00 target price on shares of ConocoPhillips and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Friday, May 4th. Finally, Mizuho started coverage on shares of ConocoPhillips in a research report on Friday, June 8th. They set a neutral rating and a $73.00 target price on the stock. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and sixteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $71.32.

Shares of COP opened at $70.52 on Monday. The company has a current ratio of 1.75, a quick ratio of 1.58 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.48. ConocoPhillips has a twelve month low of $42.26 and a twelve month high of $73.75. The stock has a market cap of $81.08 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.23, a P/E/G ratio of 1.81 and a beta of 1.20.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, July 26th. The energy producer reported $1.09 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.08 by $0.01. ConocoPhillips had a net margin of 13.26% and a return on equity of 10.26%. The company had revenue of $9.24 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $9.79 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.14 earnings per share. equities analysts anticipate that ConocoPhillips will post 4.28 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, September 4th. Stockholders of record on Monday, July 23rd will be given a $0.285 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, July 20th. This represents a $1.14 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.62%. ConocoPhillips’s dividend payout ratio is presently 190.00%.

ConocoPhillips announced that its board has approved a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, July 12th that allows the company to repurchase $9.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the energy producer to purchase up to 10.7% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are usually a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, VP Glenda Mae Schwarz sold 6,763 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.04, for a total value of $439,865.52. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 10,182 shares in the company, valued at $662,237.28. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 0.88% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. WINTON GROUP Ltd lifted its stake in shares of ConocoPhillips by 36.6% during the second quarter. WINTON GROUP Ltd now owns 99,684 shares of the energy producer’s stock valued at $6,940,000 after buying an additional 26,700 shares during the period. Global X Management Co LLC lifted its stake in shares of ConocoPhillips by 52.0% during the second quarter. Global X Management Co LLC now owns 25,769 shares of the energy producer’s stock valued at $1,794,000 after buying an additional 8,817 shares during the period. Tiedemann Advisors LLC lifted its stake in shares of ConocoPhillips by 5.8% during the second quarter. Tiedemann Advisors LLC now owns 17,236 shares of the energy producer’s stock valued at $1,200,000 after buying an additional 949 shares during the period. Verition Fund Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of ConocoPhillips during the second quarter valued at approximately $3,492,000. Finally, Signature Financial Management Inc. purchased a new position in shares of ConocoPhillips during the second quarter valued at approximately $303,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 70.85% of the company’s stock.

ConocoPhillips Company Profile

ConocoPhillips explores for, produces, transports, and markets crude oil, bitumen, natural gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and natural gas liquids worldwide. Its portfolio includes North American tight oil and oil sands assets in Canada; conventional assets in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia; various LNG developments; and an inventory of conventional and unconventional exploration prospects.

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