Noble (NE) Upgraded to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Noble (NYSE:NE) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Noble is a leading offshore drilling firm with a robust portfolio of assets. Though the industry has witnessed a setback in the past few months, the company is likely to be less impacted by it than its peers. This is because Noble Corp. enjoys a strong backlog position ($3.2 billion). With less oil being discovered on land and companies having to dig ever deeper to get to their reserves, Noble is poised to benefit from a market with robust multi-year demand trends, given its technologically advanced and versatile drilling fleet. However, we are concerned about Noble Corp’s high debt level. The company has a heavy debt-to-capitalization ratio of 41.4% compared to the industry’s ratio of 37.9%.”

NE has been the topic of a number of other reports. Piper Jaffray Companies reissued a “hold” rating and set a $2.85 price target on shares of Noble in a report on Sunday, October 22nd. Royal Bank of Canada set a $5.00 price target on shares of Noble and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, December 21st. Deutsche Bank initiated coverage on shares of Noble in a report on Tuesday, October 10th. They set a “hold” rating and a $4.00 price target on the stock. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Noble from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Sunday, December 31st. Finally, Cowen set a $3.00 price target on shares of Noble and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 18th. Seven investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seventeen have issued a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $5.41.

Noble (NYSE:NE) traded up $0.10 during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $5.10. 10,280,300 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 10,102,377. The stock has a market cap of $1,250.00, a P/E ratio of -0.70 and a beta of 2.34. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.64, a current ratio of 1.58 and a quick ratio of 1.58. Noble has a fifty-two week low of $3.14 and a fifty-two week high of $7.76.

Noble (NYSE:NE) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 2nd. The oil and gas company reported ($0.36) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of ($0.36). Noble had a negative net margin of 136.22% and a negative return on equity of 3.94%. The firm had revenue of $266.20 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $269.61 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted ($0.23) earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 30.9% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts forecast that Noble will post -1.18 earnings per share for the current year.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in Noble by 37.6% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 32,390,455 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $117,253,000 after acquiring an additional 8,843,373 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in shares of Noble by 6.9% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 30,239,221 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $249,170,000 after buying an additional 1,947,799 shares during the last quarter. State Street Corp raised its position in shares of Noble by 31.7% in the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 22,444,196 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $81,248,000 after buying an additional 5,405,697 shares during the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its position in shares of Noble by 57.3% in the first quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 20,624,594 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $127,666,000 after buying an additional 7,514,153 shares during the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. raised its position in shares of Noble by 11.2% in the third quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 10,233,433 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $64,880,000 after buying an additional 1,030,587 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 86.80% of the company’s stock.

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About Noble

Noble Corporation is an offshore drilling contractor for the oil and gas industry. The Company performs contract drilling services with its fleet of 79 mobile offshore drilling units and one floating production storage and offloading unit (NYSE:NE) located globally.

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