Encana Corp. (NYSE:ECA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report issued on Tuesday. The brokerage presently has a $11.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s target price suggests a potential upside of 11.56% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Buoyed by a slew of positive developments, we are upgrading our investment thesis on Encana to a 'Strong Buy'. The Canadian energy behemoth – which posted a surprise operating profit in the June quarter on the back of reduced drilling costs and solid execution – holds one of the largest natural gas resource portfolios in North America. As such, the company is set to benefit from the commodity's recent price strength. Additionally, the steps undertaken by Encana to divest high-cost low-profit gas assets will increase its financial flexibility and fund the transition to a more diversified oil and gas firm. Finally, the recent equity offering will help it lower debt levels, apart from supporting more number of rigs in the Permian basin, where Encana is a top tier operator. Therefore, notwithstanding the stock's impressive run in the past 6 months, we believe that ECA offers more upside for investors going ahead.”

Other research analysts also recently issued reports about the company. Jefferies Group restated a “buy” rating on shares of Encana Corp. in a research note on Thursday, August 11th. BMO Capital Markets restated a “buy” rating and issued a $10.00 price target on shares of Encana Corp. in a research note on Friday, July 22nd. Deutsche Bank AG upped their price objective on Encana Corp. from $10.00 to $11.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, June 14th. Nomura upped their price objective on Encana Corp. from $12.00 to $15.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, September 12th. Finally, Barclays PLC decreased their price objective on Encana Corp. from $8.00 to $6.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, June 1st. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating, six have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $9.31.

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Shares of Encana Corp. (NYSE:ECA) opened at 9.86 on Tuesday. The company has a 50-day moving average of $9.48 and a 200 day moving average of $7.74. Encana Corp. has a 12-month low of $3.00 and a 12-month high of $10.75. The company’s market cap is $8.38 billion.

Encana Corp. (NYSE:ECA) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 21st. The company reported $0.10 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.09) by $0.19. Encana Corp. had a positive return on equity of 0.79% and a negative net margin of 81.73%. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted ($0.20) earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts expect that Encana Corp. will post ($0.10) EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 30th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.015 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $0.06 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.61%. Encana Corp.’s payout ratio is presently -1.79%.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BlackRock Group LTD raised its stake in Encana Corp. by 7,634.4% in the first quarter. BlackRock Group LTD now owns 13,148,536 shares of the company’s stock valued at $80,074,000 after buying an additional 12,978,536 shares during the last quarter. Point72 Asset Management L.P. bought a new stake in Encana Corp. during the second quarter valued at $54,865,000. Norges Bank bought a new stake in Encana Corp. during the fourth quarter valued at $33,438,000. Key Group Holdings Cayman LTD. bought a new stake in Encana Corp. during the second quarter valued at $39,161,000. Finally, Mackenzie Financial Corp bought a new stake in Encana Corp. during the second quarter valued at $23,962,000. Institutional investors own 64.69% of the company’s stock.

About Encana Corp.

Encana Corp is a Canada-based energy producer, which is engaged in the business of exploration, development, production and marketing of natural gas, oil and natural gas liquids (NGLs). 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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:ECA

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