Sunoco (SUN) Rating 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 report released on Monday, 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 weaken 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. “

A number of other research analysts have also issued reports on SUN. TheStreet lowered shares of Sunoco from a “b” rating to a “c+” rating in a report on Monday, March 25th. Barclays downgraded shares of Sunoco from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and dropped their price objective for the company from $34.00 to $32.00 in a research note on Tuesday, April 16th. Credit Suisse Group upped their price objective on shares of Sunoco from $31.00 to $32.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Friday, February 22nd. ValuEngine raised shares of Sunoco from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, March 20th. Finally, UBS Group raised shares of Sunoco from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, February 22nd. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Sunoco currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $30.33.

NYSE:SUN traded up $0.08 on Monday, reaching $30.89. The stock had a trading volume of 112,722 shares, compared to its average volume of 224,030. The firm has a market cap of $3.05 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.97 and a beta of 0.87. The company has a current ratio of 1.05, a quick ratio of 0.61 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 3.80. Sunoco has a 12-month low of $23.80 and a 12-month high of $31.88.

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

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. CENTRAL TRUST Co boosted its holdings in Sunoco by 81.8% in the 1st quarter. CENTRAL TRUST Co now owns 1,000 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $31,000 after acquiring an additional 450 shares during the period. Mutual Advisors LLC boosted its position in shares of Sunoco by 2.8% during the fourth quarter. Mutual Advisors LLC now owns 21,148 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $575,000 after buying an additional 575 shares during the period. Resources Investment Advisors Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Sunoco during the fourth quarter worth about $41,000. Creative Planning boosted its position in Sunoco by 9.2% during the fourth quarter. Creative Planning now owns 24,600 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $669,000 after purchasing an additional 2,067 shares during the last quarter. Finally, LPL Financial LLC boosted its position in Sunoco by 12.7% during the third quarter. LPL Financial LLC now owns 24,741 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $731,000 after purchasing an additional 2,783 shares during the last quarter. 29.63% of the stock is owned by 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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