QEP Resources, Inc. (NYSE:QEP) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday. The brokerage currently has a $11.00 price objective on the pipeline company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective points to a potential upside of 22.91% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “With a diversified asset base, exposure to emerging plays and increased focus on the quality acreage of the prolific Permian Basin, this mid-cap onshore-focused E&P offers a compelling value. QEP Resources has maintained its excellent track record of earnings surprise history, beating estimates in each of the last eleven quarters. Since its split from Questar Corp. in 2010, QEP has established a strong track record of production growth, while maintaining a competitive cost structure that has enabled the company to maintain its margins amid low oil prices. With focus on operating efficiency, a robust balance sheet and ample liquidity, we believe QEP is well positioned going forward and view it as an attractive investment.”

A number of other equities research analysts have also weighed in on the company. Cowen and Company set a $12.00 target price on QEP Resources and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, August 25th. Deutsche Bank AG lowered QEP Resources from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and decreased their target price for the company from $18.00 to $13.00 in a research report on Tuesday, July 18th. Barclays PLC reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $10.00 target price on shares of QEP Resources in a research report on Friday, July 7th. ValuEngine lowered QEP Resources from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research report on Friday, September 8th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets set a $11.00 target price on QEP Resources and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 10th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating, ten have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. QEP Resources currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $14.19.

QEP Resources (NYSE:QEP) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The pipeline company reported ($0.10) earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of ($0.21) by $0.11. The business had revenue of $390.10 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $393.87 million. QEP Resources had a negative return on equity of 3.48% and a negative net margin of 0.90%. QEP Resources’s revenue was up 2.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted ($0.21) EPS.

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In other QEP Resources news, Director David A. Trice bought 25,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 17th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $7.20 per share, for a total transaction of $180,000.00. Following the purchase, the director now directly owns 40,000 shares in the company, valued at $288,000. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. 1.36% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Trexquant Investment LP purchased a new position in QEP Resources during the 2nd quarter worth $2,072,000. Alta Advisers Ltd grew its stake in QEP Resources by 9.4% during the 4th quarter. Alta Advisers Ltd now owns 203,411 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $2,726,000 after buying an additional 17,422 shares during the last quarter. Marshall Wace North America L.P. grew its stake in QEP Resources by 213.8% during the 2nd quarter. Marshall Wace North America L.P. now owns 480,416 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $4,804,000 after buying an additional 327,342 shares during the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund grew its stake in QEP Resources by 1.4% during the 1st quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 84,517 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $1,074,000 after buying an additional 1,200 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Mitchell Group Inc. grew its stake in QEP Resources by 63.8% during the 2nd quarter. Mitchell Group Inc. now owns 1,870,290 shares of the pipeline company’s stock worth $18,890,000 after buying an additional 728,590 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 93.75% of the company’s stock.

About QEP Resources

QEP Resources, Inc is an independent crude oil and natural gas exploration and production company. The Company focuses on two regions of the United States: the Northern Region (primarily in North Dakota, Wyoming and Utah) and the Southern Region (primarily in Texas and Louisiana). The Company conducts exploration and production activities in North America’s hydrocarbon resource plays.

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