Encana (ECA) Stock Rating Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Encana (NYSE:ECA) (TSE:ECA) from a strong sell rating to a hold rating in a report published on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “With Encana successfully repositioning its asset base to four key growth areas namely Montney, Duvernay, Permian and Eagle Ford, it has been able to surpass the earnings estimates in each of the trailing four quarters. Encana’s core assets are expected to further boost its production, thereby buoying the results. The company is targeting a production growth of 60% from its core assets through 2021, while being within its cash flows. However, service cost inflation and certain questions regarding the Newfield deal have dampened investor confidence. What's even worse is that the bearish cost sentiment is expected to persist through the next few quarters. Hence Encana warrants a cautious stance from the investors.”

A number of other equities analysts have also weighed in on the stock. Cowen reiterated a hold rating and issued a $10.00 price target on shares of Encana in a research report on Wednesday, February 20th. TD Securities dropped their price target on shares of Encana from $16.00 to $10.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, February 14th. CIBC upgraded shares of Encana from a sector underperform rating to a neutral rating in a research report on Thursday, January 31st. Jefferies Financial Group reiterated a buy rating and issued a $10.00 price target on shares of Encana in a research report on Wednesday, January 30th. Finally, Mizuho initiated coverage on shares of Encana in a research report on Tuesday, January 29th. They set a neutral rating and a $8.00 target price for the company. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the stock. Encana currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $12.76.

Shares of ECA traded up $0.01 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $7.26. The stock had a trading volume of 37,054,579 shares, compared to its average volume of 37,419,256. The firm has a market cap of $6.56 billion, a P/E ratio of 8.44, a PEG ratio of 0.51 and a beta of 2.09. Encana has a 12 month low of $5.00 and a 12 month high of $14.28. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57, a current ratio of 0.70 and a quick ratio of 0.70.

Encana (NYSE:ECA) (TSE:ECA) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 28th. The oil and gas company reported $0.32 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.12 by $0.20. Encana had a negative net margin of 3.98% and a positive return on equity of 9.53%. Equities analysts anticipate that Encana will post 0.79 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 29th. Investors of record on Friday, March 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.019 per share. This is an increase from Encana’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.02. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 14th. This represents a $0.08 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.05%. Encana’s dividend payout ratio is presently 6.98%.

In other Encana news, Director Fred J. Fowler purchased 10,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, December 18th. The shares were bought at an average price of $5.64 per share, with a total value of $56,400.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now directly owns 25,000 shares in the company, valued at $141,000. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Douglas James Suttles purchased 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, December 20th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $5.55 per share, for a total transaction of $27,750.00. Following the purchase, the chief executive officer now owns 159,212 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $883,626.60. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have purchased 23,500 shares of company stock worth $136,970. 0.09% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in ECA. Quad Capital Management Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Encana in the fourth quarter valued at $170,000. EP Wealth Advisors LLC raised its stake in shares of Encana by 25.9% in the fourth quarter. EP Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 32,635 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $189,000 after acquiring an additional 6,706 shares during the period. HRT Financial LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Encana in the fourth quarter valued at $218,000. Elliott Management Corp purchased a new stake in shares of Encana in the fourth quarter valued at $17,629,000. Finally, First Allied Advisory Services Inc. raised its stake in shares of Encana by 35.6% in the fourth quarter. First Allied Advisory Services Inc. now owns 14,536 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $85,000 after acquiring an additional 3,819 shares during the period. 67.98% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Encana Company Profile

Encana Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the exploration, development, production, and marketing of natural gas, oil, and natural gas liquids. The company holds interests in various assets, including the Montney in northern British Columbia and northwest Alberta; Duvernay in west central Alberta; and other upstream operations comprising Wheatland in southern Alberta, Horn River in northeast British Columbia, and Deep Panuke located in offshore Nova Scotia in Canada.

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