Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE:VLO) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Tuesday. The firm presently has a $71.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price target points to a potential upside of 11.30% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Among all the independent refiners, Valero offers the most diversified refinery base. The company has been consistently reviewing its refining portfolio and enhancing its asset base by acquiring refinery properties that help in boosting its operating performance. Continued crude price weakness should drive growth for the firm like any other refining players. The company’s strong fundamentals are reflected in its recent price history. Valero has comfortably outperformed the oil refining and marketing sector over the last three months. Moreover, Valero managed to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the last four quarters with an average beat of 13.06%. We also appreciate the company’s plan to invest $2.4 billion this year, of which a significant amount will likely be allocated toward growth projects.”

VLO has been the topic of several other research reports. Vetr downgraded shares of Valero Energy Corp. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $65.26 price objective on the stock. in a report on Wednesday, November 16th. TheStreet downgraded shares of Valero Energy Corp. from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 25th. Jefferies Group set a $65.00 target price on shares of Valero Energy Corp. and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Saturday, October 15th. Tudor Pickering upgraded shares of Valero Energy Corp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 16th. Finally, Citigroup Inc. increased their target price on shares of Valero Energy Corp. from $58.00 to $61.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 19th. Seven analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, seventeen have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $68.91.

Analyst Recommendations for Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE:VLO)

Shares of Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE:VLO) traded up 0.31% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $63.99. 840,763 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The firm has a market cap of $28.97 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.57 and a beta of 1.45. The company’s 50 day moving average is $59.28 and its 200-day moving average is $54.96. Valero Energy Corp. has a 52 week low of $46.88 and a 52 week high of $73.70.

Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE:VLO) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 25th. The company reported $1.24 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.93 by $0.31. Valero Energy Corp. had a net margin of 3.01% and a return on equity of 10.40%. The firm had revenue of $19.65 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $19.49 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $2.79 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was down 13.0% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts expect that Valero Energy Corp. will post $3.71 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 15th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, November 22nd will be paid a dividend of $0.60 per share. This represents a $2.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.76%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, November 18th. Valero Energy Corp.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 50.74%.

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Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Security National Trust Co. increased its position in Valero Energy Corp. by 4.8% in the second quarter. Security National Trust Co. now owns 2,347 shares of the company’s stock valued at $119,000 after buying an additional 107 shares during the period. Itau Unibanco Holding S.A. acquired a new position in Valero Energy Corp. during the third quarter valued at approximately $125,000. Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC acquired a new position in Valero Energy Corp. during the third quarter valued at approximately $132,000. Oakworth Capital Inc. increased its position in Valero Energy Corp. by 3.3% in the third quarter. Oakworth Capital Inc. now owns 2,684 shares of the company’s stock valued at $142,000 after buying an additional 85 shares during the period. Finally, Amica Retiree Medical Trust acquired a new position in Valero Energy Corp. during the second quarter valued at approximately $137,000. 77.49% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Valero Energy Corp. Company Profile

Valero Energy Corporation (Valero), through Valero Energy Partners LP (VLP), owns, operates, develops and acquires crude oil and refined petroleum products pipelines, terminals, and other transportation and logistics assets. The Company operates in two segments: refining and ethanol. Its refining segment includes refining and marketing operations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Aruba and Ireland.

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