Gastar Exploration Inc (NYSE:GST) was the target of a significant drop in short interest in the month of September. As of September 29th, there was short interest totalling 23,454,807 shares, a drop of 3.2% from the September 15th total of 24,239,974 shares. Approximately 11.9% of the shares of the company are sold short. Based on an average trading volume of 1,217,173 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 19.3 days.

Shares of Gastar Exploration (NYSE GST) opened at 0.8361 on Wednesday. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $0.70 and a 200-day moving average of $0.98. Gastar Exploration has a 52 week low of $0.38 and a 52 week high of $2.19. The stock’s market capitalization is $166.84 million.

Gastar Exploration (NYSE:GST) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, August 3rd. The company reported ($0.05) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of ($0.04) by ($0.01). The company had revenue of $22.60 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $18.78 million. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted ($0.12) EPS. Gastar Exploration’s revenue for the quarter was up 85.2% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts expect that Gastar Exploration will post ($0.16) EPS for the current year.

Several research analysts have weighed in on GST shares. Seaport Global Securities downgraded shares of Gastar Exploration from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and decreased their price target for the stock from $3.00 to $1.00 in a research report on Wednesday, June 21st. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Gastar Exploration from a “hold” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 18th. Williams Capital set a $1.00 price target on shares of Gastar Exploration and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, August 4th. Finally, Imperial Capital started coverage on shares of Gastar Exploration in a research note on Tuesday, September 19th. They issued an “in-line” rating and a $1.00 price objective for the company. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $1.40.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Verition Fund Management LLC lifted its stake in shares of Gastar Exploration by 7.8% in the 2nd quarter. Verition Fund Management LLC now owns 250,000 shares of the company’s stock valued at $232,000 after purchasing an additional 18,107 shares during the period. California State Teachers Retirement System acquired a new position in shares of Gastar Exploration in the 2nd quarter valued at $286,000. State Street Corp lifted its stake in shares of Gastar Exploration by 1,952.7% in the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 2,327,220 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,154,000 after purchasing an additional 2,213,844 shares during the period. Ares Management LLC lifted its stake in shares of Gastar Exploration by 92.8% in the 2nd quarter. Ares Management LLC now owns 56,712,088 shares of the company’s stock valued at $52,515,000 after purchasing an additional 27,303,783 shares during the period. Finally, California Public Employees Retirement System lifted its stake in shares of Gastar Exploration by 1.9% in the 2nd quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 2,653,900 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,458,000 after purchasing an additional 48,500 shares during the period.

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About Gastar Exploration

Gastar Exploration Inc, an independent energy company, engages in the exploration, development, and production of oil, condensate, natural gas, and natural gas liquids in the United States. Its principal activities include the identification, acquisition, exploration, and development of oil and natural gas properties on unconventional reserves, such as shale resource plays.

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