Apache Corp. (NYSE:APA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday. The brokerage currently has a $70.00 target price on the energy company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research’s target price would indicate a potential upside of 12.76% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Following Apache's solid Q3 numbers, investor sentiment on the stock has turned bullish of late. The U.S. energy firm reported narrower-than-expected loss thanks to lower cash operating costs. We appreciate the company’s initiatives to align capital spending with its cash flows while continuing to build a high-quality inventory of projects capable of delivering attractive returns even in a low oil price environment. We believe that APA's portfolio restructuring initiatives and cost-cutting measures should allow it to improve its earnings performance in the future. Finally, Apache's recent Alpine High discovery in west Texas is expected to be a game-changer for the company. Estimated to hold massive oil and natural gas reserves, the wells are said to have strong economics and top-tier returns. Consequently, we think APA offers substantial upside potential from the current price levels and view it as an attractive investment.”

Several other equities research analysts also recently commented on APA. Jefferies Group reissued a “sell” rating on shares of Apache Corp. in a report on Thursday, August 4th. Barclays PLC cut Apache Corp. from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and increased their price target for the company from $45.00 to $49.00 in a research note on Friday, August 5th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Citigroup Inc. cut Apache Corp. from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and dropped their price target for the company from $55.00 to $53.00 in a research note on Tuesday, August 9th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Vetr upgraded Apache Corp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $51.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, August 10th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG increased their price target on Apache Corp. from $53.00 to $57.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, September 8th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the stock. Apache Corp. presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $58.83.

Analyst Recommendations for Apache Corp. (NYSE:APA)

Shares of Apache Corp. (NYSE:APA) opened at 62.08 on Thursday. Apache Corp. has a 52 week low of $32.20 and a 52 week high of $66.00. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $61.22 and a 200 day moving average of $56.24. The firm’s market cap is $23.55 billion.

Apache Corp. (NYSE:APA) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 3rd. The energy company reported ($0.03) EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of ($0.16) by $0.13. The company earned $1.44 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.38 billion. Apache Corp. had a negative return on equity of 4.70% and a negative net margin of 166.56%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 5.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted ($0.05) EPS. Analysts anticipate that Apache Corp. will post ($1.01) earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, November 22nd. Stockholders of record on Friday, October 21st will be given a dividend of $0.25 per share. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, October 19th. This represents a $1.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.61%. Apache Corp.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is -4.42%.

In other Apache Corp. news, Director John E. Lowe bought 2,132 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, November 7th. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $57.65 per share, for a total transaction of $122,909.80. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now owns 7,500 shares in the company, valued at approximately $432,375. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Rebecca A. Hoyt sold 3,356 shares of Apache Corp. stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $60.94, for a total value of $204,514.64. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 12,755 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $777,289.70. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.40% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD increased its stake in shares of Apache Corp. by 36.6% in the third quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD now owns 17,780,475 shares of the energy company’s stock worth $1,135,639,000 after buying an additional 4,765,205 shares during the last quarter. FIL Ltd purchased a new stake in shares of Apache Corp. during the second quarter worth approximately $227,262,000. Gilder Gagnon Howe & Co. LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Apache Corp. during the third quarter worth approximately $124,773,000. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Apache Corp. by 5.1% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 24,605,166 shares of the energy company’s stock worth $1,369,769,000 after buying an additional 1,199,481 shares during the period. Finally, Villere ST Denis J & Co. LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Apache Corp. during the third quarter worth approximately $73,163,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 90.56% of the company’s stock.

About Apache Corp.

Apache Corporation (Apache) is an independent energy company. Both domestically and internationally, the Company explores for, develops and produces natural gas, crude oil and natural gas liquids. The Company has exploration and production interests in four countries: the United States, Canada, Egypt, and the United Kingdom (North Sea).

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