Zacks Investment Research Downgrades ONEOK (OKE) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of ONEOK (NYSE:OKE) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “ONEOK is poised to gain from  NGL and natural gas volume growth in the Williston Basin, and NGL volume growth in the STACK and SCOOP areas as well as the Permian Basin. Increase in natural gas and NGLs volumes in the STACK and SCOOP areas along with higher optimization and marketing activities in the Natural Gas Liquids segment are expected to boost upcoming performance as well. The company has widespread pipelines and storage facilities in some prolific oil and gas regions of the United States. The increase in fee-based earnings, acquisition of ONEOK Partners, capital-growth projects and increasing drilling activities from the producers will further boost the company’s performance. However, shares of ONEOK have underperformed the industry on a year-to-date basis. ONEOK is subject to strict regulations and intense competition in midstream energy services.”

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Evercore ISI initiated coverage on shares of ONEOK in a research note on Tuesday, February 5th. They set a $68.00 price target on the stock. Citigroup raised their price target on shares of ONEOK from $67.00 to $77.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, May 2nd. Mizuho set a $73.00 price target on shares of ONEOK and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, February 26th. Jefferies Financial Group cut shares of ONEOK from a buy rating to a hold rating and raised their price target for the stock from $72.00 to $74.00 in a research note on Monday, April 1st. Finally, UBS Group cut shares of ONEOK from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $68.00 price target on the stock. in a research note on Tuesday, February 26th. Eleven analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $71.73.

NYSE:OKE opened at $65.33 on Monday. The company has a quick ratio of 0.55, a current ratio of 0.79 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.56. ONEOK has a twelve month low of $50.26 and a twelve month high of $71.99. The stock has a market cap of $28.06 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.50, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.95 and a beta of 1.20.

ONEOK (NYSE:OKE) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 30th. The utilities provider reported $0.81 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.73 by $0.08. ONEOK had a net margin of 9.98% and a return on equity of 18.47%. The company had revenue of $2.78 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.70 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.64 EPS. On average, research analysts forecast that ONEOK will post 3.08 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, May 15th. Investors of record on Monday, April 29th were given a $0.865 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, April 26th. This is a boost from ONEOK’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.86. This represents a $3.46 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 5.30%. ONEOK’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 124.46%.

In related news, Director Eduardo A. Rodriguez sold 1,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.75, for a total value of $100,125.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 15,536 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,037,028. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. 0.60% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in OKE. Norges Bank acquired a new stake in shares of ONEOK in the fourth quarter worth approximately $209,832,000. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in shares of ONEOK by 7.9% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 44,615,090 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $3,115,917,000 after acquiring an additional 3,261,539 shares during the last quarter. Zimmer Partners LP boosted its position in shares of ONEOK by 279.5% in the fourth quarter. Zimmer Partners LP now owns 3,712,700 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $200,300,000 after acquiring an additional 2,734,500 shares during the last quarter. Ronna Sue Cohen boosted its position in shares of ONEOK by 6,877.6% in the first quarter. Ronna Sue Cohen now owns 2,706,461 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,706,000 after acquiring an additional 2,667,673 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund boosted its position in shares of ONEOK by 5,259.5% in the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 2,415,665 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $45,000 after acquiring an additional 2,370,592 shares during the last quarter. 74.30% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

ONEOK Company Profile

ONEOK, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the gathering, processing, storage, and transportation of natural gas in the United States. It operates through Natural Gas Gathering and Processing, Natural Gas Liquids, and Natural Gas Pipelines segments. The company owns natural gas gathering pipelines and processing plants in the Mid-Continent and Rocky Mountain regions.

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