Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE:RDS.A) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “The three-year commodity bear market has adversely affected Royal Dutch Shell’s earnings and cash flows, particularly at its upstream unit. With oil staying below the psychologically-critical $50 threshold, Shell's near-to-medium term revenue outlook remains cloudy. We are also apprehensive that the group's disposal program could affect production, which fell 11% sequentially in the most recent quarter. Furthermore, lost reserves/production from the group's assets in Nigeria amid militant attacks and heightened risk related to the company’s remaining operations in the country cannot be ignored either. We also expect Shell ADRs to remain soft as the $50 billion BG acquisition has put pressure on the company's balance sheet. Considering these headwinds, we expect Shell to perform below the industry, which gives investors little reason to hold the stock.”

RDS.A has been the subject of a number of other reports. TheStreet upgraded Royal Dutch Shell PLC from a “c” rating to a “b-” rating in a research report on Thursday, May 4th. Jefferies Group LLC set a $65.00 target price on Royal Dutch Shell PLC and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Saturday, June 24th. Societe Generale raised Royal Dutch Shell PLC from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, May 15th. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $62.00 target price on Royal Dutch Shell PLC and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, August 25th. Finally, Scotiabank set a $54.00 price target on Royal Dutch Shell PLC and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 8th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the stock. Royal Dutch Shell PLC currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $57.13.

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Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in RDS.A. Nikko Asset Management Americas raised its stake in shares of Royal Dutch Shell PLC by 5.0% in the fourth quarter. Nikko Asset Management Americas now owns 716,450 shares of the energy company’s stock worth $32,950,000 after buying an additional 34,145 shares during the last quarter. Mondrian Investment Partners raised its stake in shares of Royal Dutch Shell PLC by 1.9% in the fourth quarter. Mondrian Investment Partners now owns 593,824 shares of the energy company’s stock worth $27,191,000 after buying an additional 11,162 shares during the last quarter. ICON Advisers acquired a new stake in shares of Royal Dutch Shell PLC during the third quarter worth about $7,189,000. New Century Advisors raised its stake in shares of Royal Dutch Shell PLC by 0.8% in the fourth quarter. New Century Advisors now owns 128,550 shares of the energy company’s stock worth $58,902,000 after buying an additional 1,000 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Fisher Asset Management raised its stake in shares of Royal Dutch Shell PLC by 1.9% in the fourth quarter. Fisher Asset Management now owns 122,793 shares of the energy company’s stock worth $5,623,000 after buying an additional 2,239 shares during the last quarter. 6.34% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC Company Profile

The Royal Dutch Shell plc explores for crude oil and natural gas around the world, both in conventional fields and from sources, such as tight rock, shale and coal formations. The Company’s segments include Integrated Gas, Upstream, Downstream and Corporate. The Integrated Gas segment is engaged in the liquefaction and transportation of gas and the conversion of natural gas to liquids to provide fuels and other products, as well as projects with an integrated activity, ranging from producing to commercializing gas.

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Analyst Recommendations for Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE:RDS.A)

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