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

Several other research firms have also weighed in on ECA. Nomura boosted their target price on shares of Encana Corp. from $12.00 to $15.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, September 12th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $10.00 target price on shares of Encana Corp. in a report on Friday, July 22nd. Royal Bank Of Canada decreased their target price on shares of Encana Corp. from $10.00 to $9.00 and set a “sector perform” rating on the stock in a report on Monday, September 12th. AltaCorp Capital lowered shares of Encana Corp. from a “sector perform” rating to an “underperform” rating in a report on Friday, July 22nd. Finally, Macquarie lowered shares of Encana Corp. from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating in a report on Thursday, June 23rd. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating, six have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $9.31.

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Shares of Encana Corp. (NYSE:ECA) opened at 9.86 on Tuesday. Encana Corp. has a 52 week low of $3.00 and a 52 week high of $10.75. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $9.48 and its 200-day moving average is $7.74. The stock’s market capitalization 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 analysts’ consensus estimates of ($0.09) by $0.19. Encana Corp. had a negative net margin of 81.73% and a positive return on equity of 0.79%. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned ($0.20) EPS. Analysts forecast that Encana Corp. will post ($0.10) earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. increased its stake in shares of Encana Corp. by 8.6% in the first quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 2,120,040 shares of the company’s stock valued at $12,982,000 after buying an additional 168,638 shares during the last quarter. BB&T Securities LLC increased its stake in shares of Encana Corp. by 22.6% in the first quarter. BB&T Securities LLC now owns 17,754 shares of the company’s stock worth $108,000 after buying an additional 3,270 shares in the last quarter. Credit Agricole S A increased its stake in shares of Encana Corp. by 4.3% in the first quarter. Credit Agricole S A now owns 93,980 shares of the company’s stock worth $573,000 after buying an additional 3,867 shares in the last quarter. JVL Advisors L.L.C. increased its stake in shares of Encana Corp. by 81.4% in the first quarter. JVL Advisors L.L.C. now owns 868,800 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,291,000 after buying an additional 389,800 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bessemer Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Encana Corp. by 50.1% in the first quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 60,528 shares of the company’s stock worth $368,000 after buying an additional 20,210 shares in the last quarter. 64.69% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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.

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