Alon USA Energy Inc. (NYSE:ALJ) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Alon USA Energy, Inc. is an independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products, operating primarily in the Southwestern and South Central regions of the United States. Alon markets gasoline and diesel products under the FINA brand name and is a leading producer of asphalt in the State of Texas. The Company also operates convenience stores in West Texas and New Mexico under the 7-Eleven and FINA brand names and supplies motor fuels to these stores from its Big Spring refinery. “

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. Piper Jaffray Cos. raised their target price on Alon USA Energy from $4.00 to $5.00 and gave the stock an “underweight” rating in a research note on Monday, August 22nd. Citigroup Inc. assumed coverage on Alon USA Energy in a research note on Wednesday, September 14th. They set a “buy” rating and a $10.50 target price for the company. Credit Suisse Group AG raised Alon USA Energy from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating and raised their target price for the stock from $7.00 to $10.50 in a research note on Tuesday, October 11th. Finally, Barclays PLC reissued an “equal weight” rating and set a $10.00 target price (up previously from $8.00) on shares of Alon USA Energy in a research note on Monday, October 10th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $9.25.

Analyst Recommendations for Alon USA Energy (NYSE:ALJ)

Shares of Alon USA Energy (NYSE:ALJ) remained flat at $9.55 during trading on Wednesday. 633,795 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. Alon USA Energy has a 1-year low of $5.86 and a 1-year high of $18.08. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $8.29 and a 200-day moving average price of $7.66. The firm’s market capitalization is $679.30 million.

Alon USA Energy (NYSE:ALJ) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 27th. The company reported ($0.09) EPS for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of ($0.09). Alon USA Energy had a negative return on equity of 10.24% and a negative net margin of 3.18%. The firm had revenue of $1.04 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $859.99 million. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.60 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was down 9.3% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Alon USA Energy will post ($0.97) earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 23rd. Investors of record on Wednesday, December 7th will be paid a dividend of $0.15 per share. The ex-dividend date is Monday, December 5th. This represents a $0.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 6.28%. Alon USA Energy’s payout ratio is -35.93%.

In related news, insider David Wiessman sold 105,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $7.33, for a total transaction of $769,650.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 2,580,541 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $18,915,365.53. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 8.80% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in ALJ. Point72 Asset Management L.P. boosted its position in Alon USA Energy by 67.2% in the second quarter. Point72 Asset Management L.P. now owns 1,876,200 shares of the company’s stock valued at $12,158,000 after buying an additional 753,800 shares during the last quarter. Visium Asset Management LP boosted its position in Alon USA Energy by 2.5% in the second quarter. Visium Asset Management LP now owns 1,109,200 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,188,000 after buying an additional 26,588 shares during the last quarter. Deprince Race & Zollo Inc. boosted its position in Alon USA Energy by 73.1% in the third quarter. Deprince Race & Zollo Inc. now owns 1,077,080 shares of the company’s stock valued at $8,681,000 after buying an additional 454,994 shares during the last quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. boosted its position in Alon USA Energy by 202.5% in the second quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 937,153 shares of the company’s stock valued at $6,072,000 after buying an additional 627,363 shares during the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Fund Advisors boosted its position in Alon USA Energy by 11.3% in the third quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 837,282 shares of the company’s stock valued at $6,748,000 after buying an additional 85,207 shares during the last quarter. 47.58% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Alon USA Energy

Alon USA Energy, Inc is an independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products, operating primarily in the South Central, Southwestern and Western regions of the United States. The Company operates through three segments: refining and marketing, asphalt and retail. Its refineries produce petroleum products, including various grades of gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, petrochemicals, petrochemical feedstocks, asphalt and other petroleum-based products.

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