NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ) - Get Report stock was initiated with an "overweight" rating and a price target of $43 at JPMorgan.

"CNQ has a high-quality asset base, with a growing exposure to the Canadian oil sands and top-tier production growth potential," analysts said.

While the company reported weak first quarter results earlier this month, analysts remain positive. Canadian Natural Resources reported earnings of 2 cents per share on revenue of $3.03 million, compared to earnings of 85 cents per share on revenue of $4.4 million the same quarter a year ago.

The company said a significant fall in oil price hurt its results, but the loss was partially offset by record production.

Based in Calgary, Alberta, Canadian Natural Resources is an oil and gas exploration, development and production company.

In Thursday's early morning trading, shares of Canadian Natural Resources CNQ are falling by 0.33% to $30.36.

TheStreet Ratings team rates CANADIAN NATURAL RESOURCES as a Hold with a ratings score of C+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate CANADIAN NATURAL RESOURCES (CNQ) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, weak operating cash flow and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.55, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.39 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 38.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 31.0%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The share price of CANADIAN NATURAL RESOURCES has not done very well: it is down 21.63% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 140.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $622.00 million to -$252.00 million.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: CNQ Ratings Report