Apache Co. (NYSE:APA) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report released on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Apache's stock price has fallen 21% since the start of this year (compared to the Zacks categorized 'Oil & Gas – U.S. Exploration & Production' industry’s decline of 18%) on the company's underwhelming recent operating performance. In particular, investors are disappointed that the much hyped Alpine High discovery in west Texas will churn out more gas than oil. Increased capital spending unmatched by increased cash flows – leading to a free cash flow deficit – will also hold back the stock. Lack of growth catalysts remain another major liability. Given these headwinds, we see Apache as a risky bet that ordinary investors should exit.”

A number of other equities research analysts also recently commented on the stock. Macquarie downgraded shares of Apache from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating and set a $51.00 price objective on the stock. in a research report on Thursday, February 2nd. KLR Group reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $79.00 price objective on shares of Apache in a research report on Monday, March 20th. Barclays PLC reissued a “sell” rating and issued a $41.00 price objective (down from $50.00) on shares of Apache in a research report on Thursday, April 20th. Bank of America Corp downgraded shares of Apache to an “underperform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 28th. Finally, Scotiabank set a $58.00 price objective on shares of Apache and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, March 27th. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have issued a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company. Apache has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $60.00.

Analyst Recommendations for Apache (NYSE:APA)

Apache (NYSE:APA) traded up 2.48% during trading on Friday, reaching $51.16. 2,898,694 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The company’s market cap is $19.46 billion. Apache has a 12-month low of $46.09 and a 12-month high of $69.00. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $50.65 and a 200-day moving average price of $56.96.

Apache (NYSE:APA) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, May 4th. The energy company reported $0.08 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.16 by $0.08. Apache had a negative net margin of 166.56% and a negative return on equity of 4.70%. The firm had revenue of $1.88 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.49 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted ($0.40) earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Apache will post $1.02 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, August 22nd. Shareholders of record on Friday, July 21st will be given a dividend of $0.25 per share. This represents a $1.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.95%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, July 19th. Apache’s payout ratio is currently -4.42%.

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In other Apache news, Director Rene R. Joyce acquired 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, May 15th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $51.38 per share, with a total value of $513,800.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 10,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $513,800. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Company insiders own 0.40% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Bank of Nova Scotia increased its position in shares of Apache by 2,692.6% in the first quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia now owns 236,729 shares of the energy company’s stock valued at $12,166,000 after buying an additional 228,252 shares during the last quarter. Brighton Jones LLC acquired a new position in shares of Apache during the first quarter valued at about $465,000. First City Capital Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Apache by 6.1% in the first quarter. First City Capital Management Inc. now owns 3,922 shares of the energy company’s stock valued at $202,000 after buying an additional 225 shares during the last quarter. Blue Edge Capital LLC increased its position in shares of Apache by 6.5% in the first quarter. Blue Edge Capital LLC now owns 17,993 shares of the energy company’s stock valued at $925,000 after buying an additional 1,091 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Point72 Asset Management L.P. acquired a new position in shares of Apache during the first quarter valued at about $48,518,000. 93.38% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Apache

Apache Corporation is an independent energy company. The Company explores for, develops, and produces natural gas, crude oil and natural gas liquids. It has production in four segments: the United States, Canada, Egypt and the United Kingdom North Sea. It also pursues exploration interests in Suriname.

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