Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Murphy USA (NYSE:MUSA) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note released on Monday, Zacks.com reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $91.00 price objective on the specialty retailer’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Murphy USA is a low-cost, high-volume fuel seller, whose stations are located near Walmart supercenters. This enables it to attract significantly more transactions than its peers. Murphy USA's access to pipelines and product distribution terminals is another key competitive advantage, helping to keep costs down in the fiercely competitive retail environment. The company's shareholder friendly capital allocation policy is another positive, while the successful rollout of the Murphy Drive Rewards program led to a surge in new customers. But as a counter to these strengths, the difficult retail gasoline price environment and higher operating expenses continue to affect top line performance. Moreover, the company will likely see lower profits from collapsing RIN prices. As such, Murphy USA is expected to perform in line with the broader market.”

A number of other analysts have also commented on MUSA. ValuEngine lowered Zosano Pharma from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, May 1st. TheStreet lowered UDR from a b rating to a c rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 30th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. Murphy USA presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $84.00.

Shares of Murphy USA stock opened at $85.36 on Monday. The stock’s fifty day simple moving average is $83.70. The company has a market capitalization of $2.75 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.78, a P/E/G ratio of 6.49 and a beta of 0.74. Murphy USA has a 12 month low of $69.98 and a 12 month high of $88.58. The company has a quick ratio of 0.81, a current ratio of 1.15 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.05.

Murphy USA (NYSE:MUSA) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Monday, April 29th. The specialty retailer reported $0.16 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.19 by ($0.03). The business had revenue of $3.12 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.18 billion. Murphy USA had a return on equity of 23.79% and a net margin of 1.26%. The business’s revenue was down 3.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.16 earnings per share. On average, research analysts anticipate that Murphy USA will post 3.99 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other Murphy USA news, SVP John A. Moore sold 1,084 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, May 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $86.09, for a total value of $93,321.56. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 28,367 shares in the company, valued at $2,442,115.03. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Claiborne P. Deming sold 13,330 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $84.08, for a total value of $1,120,786.40. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 250,286 shares in the company, valued at $21,044,046.88. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 6.52% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Horrell Capital Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Murphy USA by 0.4% during the 1st quarter. Horrell Capital Management Inc. now owns 31,167 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $2,669,000 after purchasing an additional 138 shares during the period. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans raised its stake in shares of Murphy USA by 2.1% during the 4th quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 7,603 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $583,000 after purchasing an additional 154 shares during the period. Citigroup Inc. raised its stake in shares of Murphy USA by 1.8% during the 4th quarter. Citigroup Inc. now owns 9,718 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $744,000 after purchasing an additional 171 shares during the period. Comerica Bank raised its stake in shares of Murphy USA by 1.3% during the 4th quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 14,715 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $1,188,000 after purchasing an additional 192 shares during the period. Finally, Mason Street Advisors LLC raised its stake in shares of Murphy USA by 1.6% during the 1st quarter. Mason Street Advisors LLC now owns 15,955 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $1,366,000 after purchasing an additional 249 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 85.80% of the company’s stock.

Murphy USA Company Profile

Murphy USA Inc operates a chain of retail stores in the United States. The company's retail stores offer motor fuel products and convenience merchandise. It operates retail stores under the Murphy USA and Murphy Express brand names. As of December 31, 2018, the company operated approximately 1,474 retail stores, including 1,160 Murphy USA and 312 are standalone Murphy Express stores located primarily in the Southwest, Southeast, and Midwest United States.

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