Gastar Exploration Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:GST) rose 19.1% during mid-day trading on Thursday . The company traded as high as $0.78 and last traded at $0.81. Approximately 1,803,473 shares traded hands during mid-day trading, an increase of 44% from the average daily volume of 1,251,261 shares. The stock had previously closed at $0.68.

GST has been the topic of a number of research analyst reports. UBS raised shares of Gastar Exploration from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, February 15th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Gastar Exploration from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $1.50 target price on the stock in a report on Wednesday, January 10th. Seaport Global Securities raised shares of Gastar Exploration from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, December 19th. Williams Capital set a $1.00 target price on shares of Gastar Exploration and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, March 16th. Finally, Imperial Capital upped their target price on shares of Gastar Exploration from $1.00 to $1.50 and gave the company an “in-line” rating in a report on Friday, January 26th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company. Gastar Exploration presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $1.89.

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The company has a market capitalization of $151.07, a price-to-earnings ratio of -3.38 and a beta of 3.67.

Gastar Exploration (NYSEAMERICAN:GST) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, March 15th. The energy company reported ($0.03) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of ($0.03). The firm had revenue of $15.48 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $22.65 million.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company raised its holdings in Gastar Exploration by 117.7% in the 4th quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 145,157 shares of the energy company’s stock valued at $153,000 after acquiring an additional 78,492 shares during the period. Geode Capital Management LLC raised its holdings in Gastar Exploration by 6.5% in the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 1,455,720 shares of the energy company’s stock valued at $1,528,000 after acquiring an additional 88,528 shares during the period. Squar Milner Financial Services LLC bought a new position in Gastar Exploration in the 4th quarter valued at about $113,000. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. grew its position in shares of Gastar Exploration by 424.7% during the 4th quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. now owns 165,675 shares of the energy company’s stock worth $174,000 after purchasing an additional 134,100 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Deprince Race & Zollo Inc. grew its position in shares of Gastar Exploration by 24.3% during the 4th quarter. Deprince Race & Zollo Inc. now owns 921,358 shares of the energy company’s stock worth $967,000 after purchasing an additional 180,272 shares in the last quarter.

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Gastar Exploration Company Profile

Gastar Exploration Ltd (Gastar) is an independent energy company engaged in the exploration, development and production of natural gas and oil in the United States. The Company’s principal business activities include the identification, acquisition, and subsequent exploration and development of natural gas and oil properties with an emphasis on unconventional reserves, such as shale resource plays.

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