Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Monday. The firm currently has a $87.00 target price on the oil and gas company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective points to a potential upside of 12.08% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Among independent refiners, Valero has the most diversified refinery base. Majority of the company’s refining plants are located at the Gulf coast area from where there is an easy access for the export facilities. This Gulf coast presence has helped Valero to increase its export volumes over the last few years. Also, the company’s dividend yield is lucrative and is much higher than the industry. It is to be noted that improving throughput volume on the back of higher refinery utilization rates has been rewarding Valero over the past four quarters. Following this development, the company managed to surpass the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the prior four quarters. Also, Valero’s price performance looks attractive as reflected by the company’s 14.3% gain year to date as compared with 3.6% improvement of the industry.”

A number of other equities analysts have also recently issued reports on the company. Jefferies Group LLC cut Valero Energy Corporation from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Monday. Barclays PLC restated an “overweight” rating and issued a $86.00 target price (up from $85.00) on shares of Valero Energy Corporation in a report on Tuesday, October 10th. J P Morgan Chase & Co cut Valero Energy Corporation from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and lifted their target price for the stock from $75.00 to $78.00 in a report on Friday, October 6th. Cowen and Company lifted their target price on Valero Energy Corporation from $70.00 to $90.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Thursday, September 28th. Finally, UBS AG restated a “neutral” rating and issued a $80.00 target price (up from $69.00) on shares of Valero Energy Corporation in a report on Wednesday, September 27th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the stock. Valero Energy Corporation has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $75.97.

Shares of Valero Energy Corporation (VLO) opened at 77.62 on Monday. Valero Energy Corporation has a 12 month low of $53.60 and a 12 month high of $78.64. The stock has a market capitalization of $34.28 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.16 and a beta of 1.22. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $73.20 and a 200 day moving average price of $67.63.

Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The oil and gas company reported $1.23 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.08 by $0.15. The business had revenue of $22.25 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $19.32 billion. Valero Energy Corporation had a return on equity of 8.59% and a net margin of 2.17%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 13.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.07 EPS. On average, analysts anticipate that Valero Energy Corporation will post $4.52 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, Director Stephen M. Waters sold 656 shares of Valero Energy Corporation stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $75.86, for a total transaction of $49,764.16. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CFO Michael S. Ciskowski sold 53,012 shares of Valero Energy Corporation stock in a transaction on Tuesday, September 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.88, for a total value of $3,863,514.56. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 67,413 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,913,059.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 55,168 shares of company stock valued at $4,015,279. Insiders own 0.45% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in VLO. Independent Portfolio Consultants Inc. boosted its position in Valero Energy Corporation by 62.2% during the second quarter. Independent Portfolio Consultants Inc. now owns 1,614 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $109,000 after purchasing an additional 619 shares during the last quarter. First Personal Financial Services boosted its position in Valero Energy Corporation by 13.6% during the second quarter. First Personal Financial Services now owns 1,636 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $110,000 after purchasing an additional 196 shares during the last quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America boosted its position in Valero Energy Corporation by 0.6% during the first quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America now owns 1,746 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $116,000 after purchasing an additional 11 shares during the last quarter. Ffcm LLC boosted its position in Valero Energy Corporation by 189.4% during the second quarter. Ffcm LLC now owns 1,881 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $128,000 after purchasing an additional 1,231 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Manchester Capital Management LLC boosted its position in Valero Energy Corporation by 16.9% during the second quarter. Manchester Capital Management LLC now owns 2,076 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $140,000 after purchasing an additional 300 shares during the last quarter. 80.63% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Valero Energy Corporation Company Profile

Valero Energy Corporation (Valero) is an independent petroleum refiner and ethanol producer. The Company’s segments include refining, ethanol and Valero Energy Partners LP (VLP). The refining segment includes its refining operations and the associated marketing activities. The ethanol segment includes its ethanol operations and the associated marketing activities, and logistics assets that support its ethanol operations.

Analyst Recommendations for Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO)

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