Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Golar LNG (NASDAQ:GLNG) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Golar LNG is expected to benefit from commencement of the Hilli Episeyo. The company's third-quarter results are likely to get a boost from the operation of Hilli Episeyo as well as an improving shipping market. Third-quarter TCE (Time Charter Equivalent) is expected to at least double the second-quarter figure of $19,600. The company's measures to reward shareholders through dividends are also encouraging. To this end, it recently hiked its dividend to 12.5 cents per share from the previous 5 cents. However, the company reported lower-than-expected results in the second quarter of 2018. Results were hurt by softness in shipping activity. The massive increase in operating expenses is another cause for concern. Operating expenses soared 50.3% in the second quarter. Such high costs might limit Golar LNG's bottom line in the third quarter as well. Moreover, shares of the company have underperformed its industry in the last six months.”

Other equities analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. Morgan Stanley set a $31.00 price target on Golar LNG and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Friday, June 1st. BTIG Research assumed coverage on Golar LNG in a report on Wednesday, July 18th. They set a buy rating and a $35.00 price target for the company. BidaskClub upgraded Golar LNG from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a report on Wednesday, July 4th. ValuEngine cut Golar LNG from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Monday, May 14th. Finally, Citigroup cut their price target on Golar LNG from $35.00 to $32.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a report on Friday, June 1st. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $37.14.

NASDAQ GLNG opened at $25.74 on Tuesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.01, a quick ratio of 0.62 and a current ratio of 0.62. Golar LNG has a 1-year low of $19.32 and a 1-year high of $35.54.

Golar LNG (NASDAQ:GLNG) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 23rd. The shipping company reported ($0.38) earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of ($0.19) by ($0.19). The firm had revenue of $59.37 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $63.15 million. Golar LNG had a negative net margin of 11.47% and a negative return on equity of 6.37%. research analysts forecast that Golar LNG will post -1.11 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, October 3rd. Stockholders of record on Thursday, September 6th will be issued a $0.125 dividend. This is a boost from Golar LNG’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.05. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, September 5th. This represents a $0.50 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.94%. Golar LNG’s payout ratio is -13.61%.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in GLNG. Mount Yale Investment Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Golar LNG during the 2nd quarter valued at $106,000. Nomura Holdings Inc. bought a new stake in Golar LNG during the 2nd quarter valued at $3,997,000. California Public Employees Retirement System raised its position in Golar LNG by 2.7% during the 2nd quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 91,260 shares of the shipping company’s stock valued at $2,689,000 after purchasing an additional 2,360 shares in the last quarter. Peloton Wealth Strategists raised its position in Golar LNG by 85.9% during the 2nd quarter. Peloton Wealth Strategists now owns 43,500 shares of the shipping company’s stock valued at $1,282,000 after purchasing an additional 20,100 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Trafelet Brokaw Capital Management L.P. raised its position in Golar LNG by 0.3% during the 2nd quarter. Trafelet Brokaw Capital Management L.P. now owns 1,168,281 shares of the shipping company’s stock valued at $34,418,000 after purchasing an additional 3,300 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 83.31% of the company’s stock.

About Golar LNG

Golar LNG Limited, a midstream liquefied natural gas (LNG) company, engages in the transportation, regasification, and liquefaction of LNG. It operates through three segments: Vessel operations, Floating Liquefaction Natural Gas Vessel (FLNG), and Power. The company engages in the acquisition, ownership, operation, and chartering of LNG carriers and floating storage regasification units (FSRUs); and the development of LNG projects.

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