Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of U.S. Silica (NYSE:SLCA) from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating in a report published on Monday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $38.00 target price on the mining company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “U.S. Silica is well placed to gain from its expansion initiatives in the fast-growing Permian Basin. It also remains focused on pursuing earnings-accretive acquisitions. The Sandbox acquisition is driving sales and margins in the company’s oil and gas business and is expected to make a meaningful contribution in 2017. U.S. Silica is also focusing on preserving capital, reducing costs, improving customer satisfaction and boosting its market position. “

A number of other brokerages have also commented on SLCA. BidaskClub lowered U.S. Silica from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Friday, August 11th. ValuEngine lowered U.S. Silica from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Friday, September 1st. SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $43.00 price objective (up from $35.00) on shares of U.S. Silica in a research note on Thursday, September 28th. Piper Jaffray Companies reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $40.50 price objective on shares of U.S. Silica in a research note on Friday, November 10th. Finally, Jefferies Group set a $40.00 price objective on U.S. Silica and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Monday, August 28th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has issued a hold rating, nineteen have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $47.65.

Shares of U.S. Silica (NYSE:SLCA) opened at $31.80 on Monday. U.S. Silica has a 12 month low of $24.26 and a 12 month high of $61.49. The company has a market capitalization of $2,770.70, a PE ratio of 37.48 and a beta of 2.32. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.39, a quick ratio of 3.26 and a current ratio of 3.67.

U.S. Silica (NYSE:SLCA) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Monday, November 6th. The mining company reported $0.53 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.51 by $0.02. U.S. Silica had a return on equity of 5.73% and a net margin of 6.24%. The firm had revenue of $345.00 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $328.91 million. During the same period last year, the firm posted ($0.13) earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 150.5% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts anticipate that U.S. Silica will post 1.53 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, January 5th. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 15th will be issued a $0.063 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 14th. This represents a $0.25 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.79%. U.S. Silica’s payout ratio is currently 31.25%.

U.S. Silica announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share buyback program on Monday, November 6th that allows the company to repurchase $100.00 million in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the mining company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC increased its holdings in U.S. Silica by 5,398.2% in the third quarter. Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC now owns 15,285 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $475,000 after purchasing an additional 15,007 shares in the last quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio increased its holdings in U.S. Silica by 42.3% in the third quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 48,908 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $1,520,000 after purchasing an additional 14,546 shares in the last quarter. GSA Capital Partners LLP bought a new stake in U.S. Silica in the third quarter worth approximately $632,000. Tortoise Capital Advisors L.L.C. increased its holdings in U.S. Silica by 47.8% in the third quarter. Tortoise Capital Advisors L.L.C. now owns 180,710 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $5,615,000 after purchasing an additional 58,412 shares in the last quarter. Finally, GeoSphere Capital Management bought a new stake in U.S. Silica in the third quarter worth approximately $1,957,000.

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U.S. Silica Company Profile

U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc 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, it serves the oil and gas recovery market providing fracturing sand, or frac sand, which is pumped down oil and natural gas wells to prop open rock fissures and manage the flow rate of natural gas and oil from the wells.

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Analyst Recommendations for U.S. Silica (NYSE:SLCA)

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