Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE:VLO) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Tuesday. The brokerage currently has a $71.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price target suggests a potential upside of 15.33% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Among all the independent refiners, Valero offers the most diversified refinery base. The company has been consistently reviewing its refining portfolio and enhancing its asset base by acquiring refinery properties that help in boosting its operating performance. Continued crude price weakness should drive growth for the firm like any other refining players. The company’s strong fundamentals are reflected in its recent price history. Valero has comfortably outperformed the oil refining and marketing sector over the last three months. Moreover, Valero managed to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the last four quarters with an average beat of 13.06%. We also appreciate the company’s plan to invest $2.4 billion this year, of which a significant amount will likely be allocated toward growth projects.”

A number of other brokerages have also recently weighed in on VLO. TheStreet raised shares of Valero Energy Corp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, November 14th. Vetr cut shares of Valero Energy Corp. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $65.26 price target on the stock. in a research report on Wednesday, November 16th. Tudor Pickering raised shares of Valero Energy Corp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 16th. Scotiabank reissued a “sector outperform” rating and set a $62.00 price target (up from $58.00) on shares of Valero Energy Corp. in a research report on Wednesday, October 26th. Finally, Howard Weil lifted their price target on shares of Valero Energy Corp. from $58.00 to $62.00 and gave the stock a “sector outperform” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 26th. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eighteen have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. Valero Energy Corp. presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $68.91.

Analyst Recommendations for Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE:VLO)

Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE:VLO) opened at 61.56 on Tuesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $27.87 billion, a P/E ratio of 13.05 and a beta of 1.45. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $59.74 and its 200 day moving average price is $55.07. Valero Energy Corp. has a 12 month low of $46.88 and a 12 month high of $72.70.

Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE:VLO) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 25th. The company reported $1.24 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.93 by $0.31. Valero Energy Corp. had a net margin of 3.01% and a return on equity of 10.40%. The firm had revenue of $19.65 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $19.49 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $2.79 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 13.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts forecast that Valero Energy Corp. will post $3.71 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 15th. Investors of record on Tuesday, November 22nd will be issued a dividend of $0.60 per share. This represents a $2.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.90%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, November 18th. Valero Energy Corp.’s payout ratio is 50.74%.

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Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in VLO. Security National Trust Co. increased its stake in shares of Valero Energy Corp. by 4.8% in the second quarter. Security National Trust Co. now owns 2,347 shares of the company’s stock valued at $119,000 after buying an additional 107 shares during the last quarter. Itau Unibanco Holding S.A. bought a new stake in shares of Valero Energy Corp. during the third quarter valued at approximately $125,000. Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC bought a new stake in shares of Valero Energy Corp. during the third quarter valued at approximately $132,000. Amica Retiree Medical Trust bought a new stake in shares of Valero Energy Corp. during the second quarter valued at approximately $137,000. Finally, Oakworth Capital Inc. increased its stake in shares of Valero Energy Corp. by 3.3% in the third quarter. Oakworth Capital Inc. now owns 2,684 shares of the company’s stock valued at $142,000 after buying an additional 85 shares during the last quarter. 77.49% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Valero Energy Corp.

Valero Energy Corporation (Valero), through Valero Energy Partners LP (VLP), owns, operates, develops and acquires crude oil and refined petroleum products pipelines, terminals, and other transportation and logistics assets. The Company operates in two segments: refining and ethanol. Its refining segment includes refining and marketing operations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Aruba and Ireland.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:VLO

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