Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Statoil ASA (NYSE:STO) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report issued on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “The near term prospect for Statoil ASA’s upstream operation seems bleak following the persistent weak commodity prices. Although oil prices has recovered significantly from mid-February lows, a closer look reveals that it is way below the level the commodity was trading in mid-2014. Additionally, OPEC’s September crude production came at a record level, which contradicts the cartel’s pledge to recover oil prices by curbing production in an already over-supplied market. Overall, there might not be any respite to oil prices in the near term that could hinder the company’s upstream business. On top of that, Statoil ASA’s plan to lower 2016 spending for exploration activities may reduce the company’s production. Therefore, we caution investors against this company at this point.”

Several other research analysts have also recently issued reports on STO. Deutsche Bank AG cut shares of Statoil ASA from a hold rating to a sell rating and increased their price target for the stock from $16.43 to $16.64 in a report on Tuesday, June 21st. DNB Markets raised shares of Statoil ASA from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Thursday, July 28th. Morgan Stanley cut shares of Statoil ASA from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating in a report on Thursday, July 21st. Societe Generale raised shares of Statoil ASA from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, July 6th. Finally, HSBC raised shares of Statoil ASA from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, September 7th. Six analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $15.53.

Analyst Recommendations for Statoil ASA (NYSE:STO)

Statoil ASA (NYSE:STO) traded down 0.06% during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $16.74. 580,789 shares of the stock traded hands. The company’s market cap is $53.25 billion. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $16.06 and its 200-day moving average is $16.32. Statoil ASA has a 12 month low of $10.89 and a 12 month high of $17.94.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 16th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, November 3rd will be issued a $0.2201 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, November 1st. This represents a $0.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 5.26%. Statoil ASA’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently -229.72%.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in STO. Folketrygdfondet raised its position in shares of Statoil ASA by 4.0% in the first quarter. Folketrygdfondet now owns 117,436,971 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,827,319,000 after buying an additional 4,479,827 shares during the period. Renaissance Technologies LLC increased its position in shares of Statoil ASA by 68.9% in the first quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 3,018,400 shares of the company’s stock worth $46,966,000 after buying an additional 1,231,200 shares in the last quarter. Raymond James & Associates increased its position in shares of Statoil ASA by 2.5% in the second quarter. Raymond James & Associates now owns 1,817,950 shares of the company’s stock worth $31,469,000 after buying an additional 43,983 shares in the last quarter. General Electric Co. increased its position in shares of Statoil ASA by 22.4% in the second quarter. General Electric Co. now owns 1,481,508 shares of the company’s stock worth $25,645,000 after buying an additional 270,873 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Guardian Capital LP increased its position in shares of Statoil ASA by 6.3% in the second quarter. Guardian Capital LP now owns 1,305,865 shares of the company’s stock worth $22,605,000 after buying an additional 76,881 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 5.33% of the company’s stock.

Statoil ASA Company Profile

Statoil ASA is an energy company, engaged in oil and gas exploration and production activities. The Company’s segments include Development and Production Norway (DPN), Development and Production USA (DPUSA), Development and Production International (DPI), Marketing, Midstream and Processing (MMP), New Energy Solutions (NES), and Other.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:STO

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