Morgan Stanley Downgrades Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) to Equal Weight

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Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) was downgraded by research analysts at Morgan Stanley from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating in a research report issued on Wednesday, MarketBeat Ratings reports. They currently have a $1.25 target price on the oil and gas exploration company’s stock, down from their prior target price of $2.25. Morgan Stanley’s price objective would suggest a potential upside of 78.47% from the stock’s current price.

A number of other equities analysts have also recently commented on the stock. SunTrust Banks set a $2.00 price objective on shares of Chesapeake Energy and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 7th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Chesapeake Energy from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $2.50 price objective for the company in a research note on Tuesday, September 17th. Raymond James cut shares of Chesapeake Energy from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 8th. ValuEngine raised shares of Chesapeake Energy from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, November 4th. Finally, MKM Partners dropped coverage on shares of Chesapeake Energy in a research note on Tuesday, October 8th. Seven analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and ten have assigned a hold rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $2.79.

Shares of NYSE:CHK traded up $0.01 on Wednesday, reaching $0.70. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 77,841,969 shares, compared to its average volume of 93,654,208. Chesapeake Energy has a 52-week low of $0.64 and a 52-week high of $3.76. The company has a market cap of $1.15 billion, a P/E ratio of 0.78 and a beta of 2.45. The company has a 50-day simple moving average of $1.28 and a 200 day simple moving average of $1.72. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.94, a quick ratio of 0.60 and a current ratio of 0.60.

Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, November 5th. The oil and gas exploration company reported ($0.11) EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of ($0.09) by ($0.02). Chesapeake Energy had a return on equity of 9.01% and a net margin of 5.46%. The business had revenue of $1.17 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.15 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.19 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 2.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Chesapeake Energy will post -0.29 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, Director R Brad Martin acquired 250,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 6th. The stock was bought at an average price of $0.91 per share, for a total transaction of $227,500.00. Also, CAO William M. Buergler acquired 70,681 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 14th. The shares were bought at an average price of $0.71 per share, with a total value of $50,183.51. Following the acquisition, the chief accounting officer now directly owns 408,221 shares in the company, valued at $289,836.91. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have purchased 370,681 shares of company stock valued at $323,184. 1.90% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in CHK. First Trust Advisors LP lifted its holdings in Chesapeake Energy by 366.5% during the 3rd quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 4,333,207 shares of the oil and gas exploration company’s stock valued at $6,110,000 after buying an additional 3,404,290 shares in the last quarter. Balyasny Asset Management LLC bought a new stake in Chesapeake Energy during the 2nd quarter valued at about $2,353,000. Nuveen Asset Management LLC lifted its holdings in Chesapeake Energy by 116.9% during the 2nd quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 2,208,493 shares of the oil and gas exploration company’s stock valued at $4,306,000 after buying an additional 1,190,265 shares in the last quarter. Paloma Partners Management Co bought a new stake in Chesapeake Energy during the 2nd quarter valued at about $2,041,000. Finally, Iberiabank Corp bought a new stake in Chesapeake Energy during the 3rd quarter valued at about $1,410,000. Institutional investors own 68.90% of the company’s stock.

About Chesapeake Energy

Chesapeake Energy Corporation engages in the acquisition, exploration, and development of properties for the production of oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids (NGL) from underground reservoirs in the United States. The company holds interests in natural gas resource plays, including the Marcellus in Northern Appalachian Basin in Pennsylvania; Haynesville located in Northwestern Louisiana; Eagle Ford in South Texas; Brazos Valley in Southeast Texas; Powder River Basin in Wyoming; and Mid-Continent in Anadarko Basin of northwestern Oklahoma.

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