PetroChina Ltd. (PTR) Upgraded to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of PetroChina Ltd. (NYSE:PTR) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Being one of the two Chinese integrated oil firms, PetroChina is well-positioned to capitalize on the country’s favorable trends. In particular, we like PTR’s robust portfolio of assetsand strong balance sheet, which make it better suited to handle volatile market conditions than most of its peers. On top of that, its natural gas business offers lucrative growth prospects in the coming years as China moves from coal to natural gas. But there's no ignoring that the crude price slump has adversely affected the group’s earnings and cash flows, particularly at its upstream unit. Such has been the impact that PTR's E&P segment swung to a first-half loss. Adding to the woes is China’s decision to cut natural gas prices for industrial users that reduced margins in PTR’s gas-wholesale business. Considering these factors, we see limited upside from current levels that forms the basis of our cautious stance.”

Analyst Recommendations for PetroChina (NYSE:PTR)

Separately, Macquarie raised PetroChina from a neutral rating to an outperform rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 21st. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company. PetroChina presently has a consensus rating of Hold.

PetroChina (NYSE:PTR) opened at 64.05 on Friday. PetroChina has a 12 month low of $52.30 and a 12 month high of $84.05. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $66.98 and its 200 day moving average price is $68.16. The firm has a market capitalization of $117.22 billion, a PE ratio of 80.06 and a beta of 1.19.

The firm also recently disclosed a semiannual dividend, which will be paid on Monday, November 7th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, September 13th will be given a $0.3213 dividend. This represents a dividend yield of 0.95%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 9th. PetroChina’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 71.95%.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its position in PetroChina by 22.1% in the first quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 50,640 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,358,000 after buying an additional 9,164 shares during the period. UBS Group AG raised its position in PetroChina by 50.7% in the first quarter. UBS Group AG now owns 16,691 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,106,000 after buying an additional 5,612 shares during the period. Brandes Investment Partners LP raised its position in PetroChina by 1.1% in the second quarter. Brandes Investment Partners LP now owns 38,902 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,642,000 after buying an additional 431 shares during the period. Royal Bank of Canada raised its position in PetroChina by 66.2% in the first quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 10,169 shares of the company’s stock valued at $674,000 after buying an additional 4,049 shares during the period. Finally, HBK Investments L P acquired a new position in PetroChina during the first quarter valued at $404,000. 0.22% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About PetroChina

PetroChina Company Limited is an oil and gas producer and distributor. The Company’s segments are Exploration and Production, Refining and Chemicals, Marketing, and Natural Gas and Pipeline. The Company’s Exploration and Production segment is engaged in the exploration, development, production and marketing of crude oil and natural gas.

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