Ecopetrol S.A. Stock Downgraded (EC)

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Ecopetrol S.A (NYSE: EC) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income and attractive valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and disappointing return on equity.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 5.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.34, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.86 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • EC's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 42.78%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, ECOPETROL SA has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.

Ecopetrol S.A., an integrated oil company, engages in the exploration, development, and production of crude oil and natural gas Colombia. The company operates in four segments: Exploration and Production, Refining and Petrochemicals, Transportation, and Market and Supply. The company has a P/E ratio of 5.5, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Ecopetrol S.A has a market cap of $72.59 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and energy industry. Shares are down 7.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

You can view the full Ecopetrol S.A Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

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