Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) from a hold rating to a strong sell rating in a report published on Friday.

According to Zacks, “With pipeline takeaway capacity constraints in the Permian Basin likely to dampen investor confidence, the investment thesis on Halliburton is revised downward. Investors were spooked after the company warned that a slowdown in the oil and gas rich-Permian Basin activity due to pipeline bottleneck will be a drag on fourth quarter earnings. Moreover, transportation bottlenecks in the region has also led to lower producer spending, denting the demand for Halliburton’s market-leading hydraulic fracturing services in North America. Finally, with the failure of Baker Hughes acquisition, HAL had to book a massive $3.5 billion in breakup charges that stretched its balance sheet. Taking into account all these factors, Halliburton is currently viewed as a risky bet. “

HAL has been the subject of several other reports. Wells Fargo & Co restated a buy rating on shares of Halliburton in a research note on Sunday, January 6th. Cleveland Research downgraded Halliburton from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a research note on Thursday, October 18th. UBS Group set a $42.00 target price on Halliburton and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, December 20th. HSBC cut their target price on Halliburton to $51.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a research report on Monday, October 8th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded Halliburton from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, October 4th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating, twenty-two have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $50.16.

HAL opened at $30.70 on Friday. The firm has a market capitalization of $26.28 billion, a P/E ratio of 25.16, a PEG ratio of 1.36 and a beta of 1.14. Halliburton has a 1 year low of $24.70 and a 1 year high of $57.86. The company has a quick ratio of 1.73, a current ratio of 2.31 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.16.

Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Monday, October 22nd. The oilfield services company reported $0.50 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.49 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $6.17 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $6.10 billion. Halliburton had a return on equity of 20.42% and a net margin of 0.70%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 13.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.42 EPS. On average, research analysts expect that Halliburton will post 1.86 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, December 27th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, December 6th were issued a dividend of $0.18 per share. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, December 5th. This represents a $0.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.35%. Halliburton’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 59.02%.

In other Halliburton news, VP Anne L. Beaty sold 1,300 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, January 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $28.50, for a total value of $37,050.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 58,848 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,677,168. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, VP Anne L. Beaty sold 2,548 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, January 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $29.48, for a total value of $75,115.04. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 56,663 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,670,425.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 12,787 shares of company stock valued at $404,538 in the last three months. 0.54% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. IMS Capital Management acquired a new position in Halliburton in the 3rd quarter worth about $46,000. Investment Partners LTD. acquired a new position in Halliburton in the 3rd quarter worth about $249,000. Honkamp Krueger Financial Services Inc. acquired a new position in Halliburton in the 3rd quarter worth about $103,000. Whitener Capital Management Inc. acquired a new position in Halliburton in the 3rd quarter worth about $106,000. Finally, Lee Financial Co acquired a new position in Halliburton in the 3rd quarter worth about $118,000. 78.02% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Halliburton

Halliburton Company provides a range of services and products to oil and natural gas companies worldwide. The company's Completion and Production segment offers production enhancement services, including stimulation and sand control services; and cementing services, such as bonding the well, well casing, and casing equipment.

Featured Story: Hedge Funds – Risk or Reward?

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Halliburton (HAL)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for Halliburton (NYSE:HAL)

Receive News & Ratings for Halliburton Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Halliburton and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.