Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Energy Transfer Partners (NYSE:ETP) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Energy Transfer Partners is well poised to grow on the back of its geographically dispersed asset mix. Major projects including Rover, Bakken and Permian Express 3 Pipelines are expected to further strengthen the growth momentum of the partnership in the future. ETP’s M&A deals with Sunoco and Penn Tex has boosted the growth and value of the partnership leading to various synergies. ETP's growing distribution coverage ratio further boosts investors' confidence in the stock. The partnership's recent announcement to merge with its general partner also bodes well. However, high debt, escalating expenses and oppositions which ETP's Mariner East and Bayou Bridge Pipelines are facing from the environmentalists still remain major headwinds. The interplay of these factors forms the basis of our cautious stance on the stock.”

A number of other equities analysts also recently weighed in on the stock. US Capital Advisors raised shares of Energy Transfer Partners from a hold rating to an overweight rating and set a $26.00 target price for the company in a research note on Friday, August 24th. UBS Group lifted their target price on shares of Energy Transfer Partners from $29.00 to $31.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Friday, August 10th. Stifel Nicolaus reissued a buy rating and set a $27.00 target price (up previously from $24.00) on shares of Energy Transfer Partners in a research note on Friday, August 10th. Wolfe Research raised shares of Energy Transfer Partners from a market perform rating to an outperform rating in a research note on Friday, August 3rd. Finally, Morgan Stanley reissued an equal weight rating and set a $27.00 target price (up previously from $22.00) on shares of Energy Transfer Partners in a research note on Friday, August 3rd. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $24.36.

ETP stock opened at $21.61 on Tuesday. The firm has a market cap of $25.96 billion, a PE ratio of 30.01, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.65 and a beta of 1.28. Energy Transfer Partners has a 52-week low of $15.06 and a 52-week high of $24.38. The company has a quick ratio of 0.80, a current ratio of 0.99 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.05.

Energy Transfer Partners (NYSE:ETP) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 8th. The pipeline company reported $0.05 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.17 by ($0.12). Energy Transfer Partners had a net margin of 8.24% and a return on equity of 8.00%. The business had revenue of $9.41 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $8.52 billion. On average, research analysts predict that Energy Transfer Partners will post 0.97 EPS for the current year.

In related news, CEO Kelcy L. Warren purchased 366,446 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, September 7th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $22.11 per share, with a total value of $8,102,121.06. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, CFO Thomas E. Long purchased 10,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, September 14th. The stock was bought at an average cost of $22.33 per share, with a total value of $223,300.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the chief financial officer now owns 174,625 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,899,376.25. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders have purchased 2,010,000 shares of company stock valued at $45,080,386 in the last three months. 3.74% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of ETP. Brookfield Asset Management Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Energy Transfer Partners by 273.6% during the first quarter. Brookfield Asset Management Inc. now owns 19,195,528 shares of the pipeline company’s stock valued at $311,352,000 after buying an additional 14,057,785 shares during the last quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS acquired a new position in shares of Energy Transfer Partners during the second quarter valued at about $240,750,000. Alps Advisors Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Energy Transfer Partners by 18.8% during the second quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. now owns 59,550,445 shares of the pipeline company’s stock valued at $1,067,144,000 after buying an additional 9,440,341 shares during the last quarter. Summit Trail Advisors LLC grew its holdings in shares of Energy Transfer Partners by 1,859.2% during the first quarter. Summit Trail Advisors LLC now owns 5,581,815 shares of the pipeline company’s stock valued at $5,582,000 after buying an additional 5,296,913 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Zimmer Partners LP grew its holdings in shares of Energy Transfer Partners by 525.3% during the first quarter. Zimmer Partners LP now owns 4,083,093 shares of the pipeline company’s stock valued at $66,228,000 after buying an additional 3,430,112 shares during the last quarter. 61.41% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Energy Transfer Partners

Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. engages in the natural gas midstream, and intrastate transportation and storage businesses in the United States. The company's Intrastate Transportation and Storage segment transports natural gas from various natural gas producing areas through connections with other pipeline systems, as well as through its ET Fuel System and HPL System.

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