Sunoco (SUN) Lowered to “Sell” at Zacks Investment Research

Sunoco (NYSE:SUN) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Sunoco’s operations are significantly exposed to debt capital, with the balance sheet more levered than the industry it belongs to. The company’s long-term debt to capitalization ratio of 79.2% is significantly higher than that of the industry’s 53.8%. Its debt-ridden balance sheet can hinder the partnership’s plan to expand midstream business through acquisitions. Even if the partnership goes through with this plan, it will increase the debt burden. Escalating operating costs can hurt its bottom line in the upcoming quarters. Also, expectations of a sharp slowdown in the U.S. economy by many economists may hurt the partnership’s fuel distribution businesses. Given these headwinds, Sunoco seems like a risky bet that ordinary investors should avoid.”

Several other analysts also recently weighed in on SUN. ValuEngine downgraded Sunoco from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Thursday, December 27th. Goldman Sachs Group raised Sunoco from a “sell” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 2nd. Bank of America initiated coverage on Sunoco in a report on Friday, January 11th. They issued an “underperform” rating and a $26.00 target price for the company. Jefferies Financial Group reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $29.00 target price on shares of Sunoco in a report on Tuesday, January 29th. Finally, UBS Group raised Sunoco from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, February 22nd. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Sunoco presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $30.33.

NYSE:SUN opened at $30.59 on Tuesday. The stock has a market cap of $3.03 billion, a PE ratio of 11.86 and a beta of 0.87. Sunoco has a 1 year low of $23.80 and a 1 year high of $31.88. The company has a quick ratio of 0.61, a current ratio of 1.05 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 3.80.

Sunoco (NYSE:SUN) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, February 20th. The oil and gas company reported $0.51 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.64 by ($0.13). Sunoco had a negative net margin of 1.22% and a positive return on equity of 33.77%. The firm had revenue of $3.88 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.43 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $2.01 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 31.0% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, research analysts forecast that Sunoco will post 2.44 earnings per share for the current year.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of SUN. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its stake in Sunoco by 28.0% during the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 1,713,603 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $50,637,000 after acquiring an additional 375,235 shares during the last quarter. Intrinsic Edge Capital Management LLC raised its stake in Sunoco by 216.8% during the 4th quarter. Intrinsic Edge Capital Management LLC now owns 475,178 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $12,920,000 after acquiring an additional 325,178 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in Sunoco by 53.2% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 575,604 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $15,651,000 after acquiring an additional 200,000 shares during the last quarter. Hsbc Holdings PLC purchased a new stake in Sunoco during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $3,842,000. Finally, Jane Street Group LLC purchased a new stake in Sunoco during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $3,268,000. 29.63% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Sunoco Company Profile

Sunoco LP, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the distribution and retailing of motor fuels in the United States. The company operates through two segments, Fuel Distribution and Marketing, and All Other. The Fuel Distribution and Marketing segment purchases motor fuel from independent refiners and major oil companies and supplies it to independently operated dealer stations, distributors and other consumer of motor fuel, and partnership operated stations, as well as to commission agent locations.

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