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Noble Cut To Sell By Argus, Balance Sheet Said To Have Deteriorated

Argus downgraded Noble Corporation Ordinary Shares (UK) NE 4% to Sell from Hold on declining offshore drilling activity and balance sheet concerns.

Analyst David Coleman noted that Noble continues to be pressured by a drop in offshore drilling activity, and has been hurt by lower fleet utilization and day rates.

Further, Noble will now face higher borrowing costs following credit downgrades from S&P and Moody's. In late April, Noble slashed its quarterly dividend to $0.02 from $0.15 to conserve cash.

"Based on these factors and the absence of positive catalysts, we believe that a SELL rating is now appropriate," Coleman wrote in a note.

The analyst cut his 2016 EPS estimate to $0.20 from $0.61, reflecting continued energy sector weakness and the downturn in drilling activity. The analyst also widened his 2017 loss estimate to $0.47 per share from $0.42 per share. The 2016 consensus EPS estimate is $0.04 and the 2017 consensus loss forecast stands at $1.02 per share.

Noble shares have underperformed over the past three months, falling 26.3 percent compared to a gain of 6 percent for the S&P 500. Over the past year, they fell 38.5 percent, compared to a gain of 5 percent for the index.

At time of writing, shares of Noble fell 2.43 percent to $7.02.

Aug 2016Argus ResearchDowngradesHoldSell
Jul 2016JefferiesMaintainsHold
May 2016Argus ResearchDowngradesBuyHold

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