Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Apache (NYSE:APA) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Apache’s large geographically diversified reserve base and high-quality drilling inventory bode well. The company’s increased focus on the Permian basin- known for its high internal rates of return is the real driver. The exit from Canadian operations has freed up substantial capital for further expansion in the Permian basin, especially Apache’s Alpine High play. Estimated to hold massive oil and natural gas reserves, Alpine High discovery is expected to be a game-changer for the company. However, Apache is burdened with high leverage, restricting its financial flexibility and limiting growth in process. Moreover, pipeline takeaway constraints in the Permian Basin are also a concern. Also, the strong oil price rebound from early-2016 lows have failed to enable Apache to recover from its long string of negative free cash flows. Therefore, the stock warrants a cautious stance. “

Several other brokerages also recently issued reports on APA. Piper Jaffray Companies reiterated a hold rating and issued a $55.00 target price on shares of Apache in a research note on Tuesday, November 27th. Stephens initiated coverage on shares of Apache in a research note on Monday, September 17th. They issued an overweight rating and a $52.00 target price on the stock. Scotiabank reiterated a hold rating and issued a $55.00 target price on shares of Apache in a research note on Thursday, September 27th. ValuEngine cut shares of Apache from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a report on Wednesday, January 2nd. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus reissued a hold rating and set a $45.00 price objective on shares of Apache in a report on Monday, November 26th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have issued a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Apache currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $43.64.

Shares of NYSE APA traded up $0.14 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $31.10. The stock had a trading volume of 4,909,903 shares, compared to its average volume of 4,745,100. The company has a market cap of $11.71 billion, a PE ratio of 129.58, a P/E/G ratio of 3.77 and a beta of 1.53. Apache has a 52 week low of $24.56 and a 52 week high of $50.03. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.90, a quick ratio of 1.10 and a current ratio of 1.26.

Apache (NYSE:APA) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, October 31st. The energy company reported $0.63 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.47 by $0.16. The firm had revenue of $1.98 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.89 billion. Apache had a net margin of 12.11% and a return on equity of 7.71%. The business’s revenue was up 25.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.04 earnings per share. On average, analysts forecast that Apache will post 1.96 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, February 22nd. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, January 22nd will be issued a dividend of $0.25 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, January 18th. This represents a $1.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.22%. Apache’s payout ratio is 416.67%.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in APA. Clearbridge Investments LLC increased its holdings in Apache by 62.6% during the third quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 2,481,181 shares of the energy company’s stock valued at $118,278,000 after buying an additional 955,266 shares during the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its holdings in Apache by 24.7% during the third quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 4,545,996 shares of the energy company’s stock valued at $216,696,000 after buying an additional 901,022 shares during the last quarter. Manitou Investment Management Ltd. purchased a new stake in Apache during the third quarter valued at approximately $34,350,000. Packer & Co Ltd increased its holdings in Apache by 127.4% during the fourth quarter. Packer & Co Ltd now owns 1,239,800 shares of the energy company’s stock valued at $14,312,000 after buying an additional 694,600 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Morgan Stanley increased its holdings in Apache by 73.5% during the third quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 1,323,062 shares of the energy company’s stock valued at $63,071,000 after buying an additional 560,279 shares during the last quarter. 96.07% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Apache Company Profile

Apache Corporation, an independent energy company, explores for, develops, and produces natural gas, crude oil, and natural gas liquids (NGLs). The company has operations in onshore assets located Permian and Midcontinent/Gulf Coast onshore regions; and offshore assets situated in the Gulf of Mexico region.

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