Encana Corporation (ECA) Cut to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Encana Corporation (NYSE:ECA) (TSE:ECA) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Friday.

According to Zacks, “The Canadian energy behemoth – which smashed profit estimates in the Jun quarter on the back of solid production and margins – holds one of the largest natural gas resource portfolios in North America. Additionally, the company's cost cut initiatives and divestiture of high-cost low-profit gas assets will increase its financial flexibility and fund the transition to a more diversified oil and gas firm. However, ECA’s profit is influenced by commodity price fluctuations. Also, the late 2016 equity offering – despite helping ECA to pay down debt and boost drilling – has significantly diluted existing shareholders' equity. Consequently, we would rather wait for a better entry point before accumulating shares.”

Several other brokerages have also weighed in on ECA. Barclays PLC increased their price objective on shares of Encana Corporation from $12.00 to $13.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a report on Wednesday, October 25th. BMO Capital Markets set a $14.00 price objective on shares of Encana Corporation and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Thursday, October 19th. Scotiabank increased their price objective on shares of Encana Corporation from $12.00 to $13.00 and gave the stock a sector perform rating in a report on Thursday, October 19th. Raymond James Financial, Inc. increased their price objective on shares of Encana Corporation from $15.00 to $16.00 and gave the stock a strong-buy rating in a report on Thursday, October 19th. Finally, Citigroup Inc. increased their price objective on shares of Encana Corporation from $13.00 to $14.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Thursday, October 19th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating, fifteen have given a buy rating and four have assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $14.16.

Encana Corporation (ECA) opened at 11.28 on Friday. The stock has a market capitalization of $10.98 billion, a P/E ratio of 13.44 and a beta of 2.11. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $11.15 and its 200-day moving average is $10.15. Encana Corporation has a 52 week low of $8.01 and a 52 week high of $13.85.

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Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. grew its position in shares of Encana Corporation by 7.4% during the second quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. now owns 107,286 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $944,000 after buying an additional 7,358 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its position in shares of Encana Corporation by 4.6% during the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 22,637,700 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $265,086,000 after buying an additional 994,074 shares in the last quarter. Capital Fund Management S.A. grew its position in shares of Encana Corporation by 103.1% during the second quarter. Capital Fund Management S.A. now owns 563,668 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $4,960,000 after buying an additional 286,089 shares in the last quarter. Parkwood LLC grew its position in shares of Encana Corporation by 15.4% during the second quarter. Parkwood LLC now owns 376,727 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $3,315,000 after buying an additional 50,376 shares in the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Inc. grew its position in shares of Encana Corporation by 15.4% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 25,264,984 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $222,330,000 after buying an additional 3,368,871 shares in the last quarter. 66.92% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Encana Corporation Company Profile

Encana Corporation is an energy producer that is focused on developing its multi-basin portfolio of natural gas, oil and natural gas liquids (NGLs) producing plays. The Company’s operations also include the marketing of natural gas, oil and NGLs. All of its reserves and production are located in North America.

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