Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE:NBL) was the target of some unusual options trading activity on Friday. Investors bought 23,389 put options on the company. This is an increase of 1,104% compared to the typical volume of 1,942 put options.

A number of analysts have recently issued reports on NBL shares. Royal Bank Of Canada reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $48.00 price objective on shares of Noble Energy in a research note on Tuesday, April 25th. Credit Suisse Group reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $44.00 price objective on shares of Noble Energy in a research note on Thursday, April 27th. Evercore ISI reissued an “outperform” rating and issued a $40.00 price objective on shares of Noble Energy in a research note on Tuesday, May 2nd. Scotiabank set a $41.00 price objective on shares of Noble Energy and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, May 16th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC set a $40.00 price objective on shares of Noble Energy and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 17th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating, nineteen have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $41.48.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in NBL. AQR Capital Management LLC raised its stake in Noble Energy by 7.7% in the fourth quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 11,471 shares of the oil and gas development company’s stock worth $437,000 after buying an additional 821 shares during the last quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC raised its stake in Noble Energy by 0.9% in the first quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 172,587 shares of the oil and gas development company’s stock worth $5,927,000 after buying an additional 1,554 shares during the last quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue acquired a new stake in Noble Energy during the first quarter worth about $255,000. Retirement Systems of Alabama raised its stake in Noble Energy by 3.6% in the first quarter. Retirement Systems of Alabama now owns 210,503 shares of the oil and gas development company’s stock worth $7,229,000 after buying an additional 7,317 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Candriam Luxembourg S.C.A. raised its stake in Noble Energy by 47.1% in the first quarter. Candriam Luxembourg S.C.A. now owns 120,640 shares of the oil and gas development company’s stock worth $4,143,000 after buying an additional 38,652 shares during the last quarter. 86.57% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Noble Energy (NYSE:NBL) opened at 23.65 on Monday. The company’s market cap is $11.16 billion. Noble Energy has a 52-week low of $23.01 and a 52-week high of $42.03. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $27.13 and its 200 day moving average is $31.71.

Noble Energy (NYSE:NBL) last released its earnings results on Thursday, August 3rd. The oil and gas development company reported $0.05 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of ($0.13) by $0.18. Noble Energy had a negative net margin of 46.63% and a positive return on equity of 0.86%. The business had revenue of $1.06 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.05 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned ($0.24) earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 25.0% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts predict that Noble Energy will post ($0.13) EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, August 21st. Stockholders of record on Monday, August 7th will be issued a dividend of $0.10 per share. This represents a $0.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.69%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, August 3rd. Noble Energy’s payout ratio is -9.90%.

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About Noble Energy

Noble Energy, Inc is an independent energy company. The Company is engaged in crude oil, natural gas and natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) exploration, development, production and acquisition. The Company’s segments include: United States, including the onshore DJ Basin, Permian Basin, Eagle Ford Shale, Marcellus Shale and offshore deepwater Gulf of Mexico, as well as the consolidated accounts of Noble Midstream Partners LP (Noble Midstream Partners); Eastern Mediterranean, including offshore Israel and Cyprus; West Africa, including offshore Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Gabon, and Other International and Corporate, including new ventures, such as offshore the Falkland Islands, Suriname and Newfoundland.

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