Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of U.S. Silica Holdings Inc. (NYSE:SLCA) from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. is a producer of industrial minerals, including sand proppants, whole grain silica, ground silica, fine ground silica, calcined kaolin clay and aplite clay. The company also operates as a research and development specialist for customized products and solutions. The industries and applications served by U.S. Silica includes oil and gas, glass, chemicals, foundry, building products, fillers and extenders, recreation, industrial filtration and treatment, and testing and analysis. U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. is headquartered in Frederick, Maryland. “

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on SLCA. Vetr cut shares of U.S. Silica Holdings from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating and set a $40.31 price target on the stock. in a research note on Wednesday, August 3rd. Royal Bank Of Canada lifted their price target on shares of U.S. Silica Holdings from $39.00 to $44.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 19th. Jefferies Group lifted their price target on shares of U.S. Silica Holdings from $44.00 to $45.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, August 4th. Howard Weil lifted their price target on shares of U.S. Silica Holdings from $32.00 to $35.00 and gave the company a sector perform rating in a research note on Thursday, August 4th. Finally, Cowen and Company lifted their price target on shares of U.S. Silica Holdings from $42.00 to $52.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research note on Tuesday. Eight equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, thirteen have issued a buy rating and two have given a strong buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $37.17.

Shares of U.S. Silica Holdings (NYSE:SLCA) opened at 48.95 on Tuesday. U.S. Silica Holdings has a one year low of $13.54 and a one year high of $49.98. The company’s market cap is $3.11 billion. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $43.24 and a 200-day moving average of $33.75.

U.S. Silica Holdings (NYSE:SLCA) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 2nd. The mining company reported ($0.19) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of ($0.22) by $0.03. U.S. Silica Holdings had a negative net margin of 6.70% and a negative return on equity of 7.76%. The firm had revenue of $117 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $114.53 million. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.08 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 20.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts forecast that U.S. Silica Holdings will post ($0.65) EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, October 4th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 15th were issued a $0.0625 dividend. This represents a $0.25 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.51%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, September 13th. U.S. Silica Holdings’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is -39.06%.

In related news, EVP Bradford B. Casper sold 12,273 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $45.81, for a total transaction of $562,226.13. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 18,699 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $856,601.19. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, COO Michael L. Winkler sold 64,123 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, August 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $42.00, for a total value of $2,693,166.00. Following the sale, the chief operating officer now directly owns 57,674 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,422,308. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.20% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Texas Permanent School Fund raised its stake in U.S. Silica Holdings by 12.4% in the first quarter. Texas Permanent School Fund now owns 49,686 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $1,129,000 after buying an additional 5,499 shares during the last quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC raised its stake in shares of U.S. Silica Holdings by 8.3% in the first quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 193,857 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $4,404,000 after buying an additional 14,902 shares during the last quarter. Teachers Advisors Inc. raised its stake in shares of U.S. Silica Holdings by 10.7% in the first quarter. Teachers Advisors Inc. now owns 94,910 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $2,156,000 after buying an additional 9,149 shares during the last quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. raised its stake in shares of U.S. Silica Holdings by 20.0% in the first quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 145,910 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $3,315,000 after buying an additional 24,300 shares during the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in shares of U.S. Silica Holdings by 171.3% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 4,710 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $108,000 after buying an additional 2,974 shares during the last quarter. 97.26% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About U.S. Silica Holdings

U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc (U.S. Silica) is a domestic producer of commercial silica, a specialized mineral that is an input into a range of end markets. The Company operates in two segments: Oil & Gas Proppants, and Industrial & Specialty Products. In the Oil & Gas Proppants segment, the Company serves the oil and gas recovery market providing fracturing sand, or frac sand.

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