Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) has been assigned an average rating of “Buy” from the ten ratings firms that are covering the stock. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has assigned a hold rating, five have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The average 1-year price objective among brokerages that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $120.00.
Several brokerages recently issued reports on ASH. Jefferies Group reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Ashland in a research report on Tuesday, September 13th. Credit Suisse Group AG downgraded Ashland from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and reduced their price target for the stock from $122.00 to $119.00 in a research report on Thursday, July 28th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research downgraded Ashland from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, July 4th.
In other news, VP Anne T. Schumann sold 496 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $121.61, for a total transaction of $60,318.56. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Insiders own 1.27% of the company’s stock.
Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in ASH. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Ashland by 1.7% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 4,760,801 shares of the company’s stock worth $546,398,000 after buying an additional 77,778 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors boosted its stake in Ashland by 4.0% in the second quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 2,232,316 shares of the company’s stock worth $256,203,000 after buying an additional 85,205 shares during the period. State Street Corp boosted its stake in Ashland by 2.5% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 2,145,414 shares of the company’s stock worth $235,921,000 after buying an additional 51,438 shares during the period. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. boosted its stake in Ashland by 0.7% in the second quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 1,897,399 shares of the company’s stock worth $217,764,000 after buying an additional 13,192 shares during the period. Finally, Neuberger Berman Group LLC boosted its stake in Ashland by 0.6% in the second quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 1,132,279 shares of the company’s stock worth $129,952,000 after buying an additional 7,095 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 86.88% of the company’s stock.
Shares of Ashland (NYSE:ASH) traded up 0.17% during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $118.18. 365,601 shares of the stock traded hands. Ashland has a 12-month low of $88.30 and a 12-month high of $125.00. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $117.18 and its 200 day moving average price is $114.27.
Ashland (NYSE:ASH) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $1.95 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.04 by $0.09. Ashland had a net margin of 3.86% and a return on equity of 15.90%. The business earned $1.29 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.32 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.91 earnings per share. Analysts expect that Ashland will post $6.87 EPS for the current year.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, August 19th were paid a dividend of $0.39 per share. This represents a $1.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.32%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 17th. Ashland’s dividend payout ratio is currently 51.32%.
Ashland Inc is engaged in specialty chemicals, and through Valvoline, is a consumer-branded lubricant supplier. The Company operates in three segments: Ashland Specialty Ingredients (Specialty Ingredients), Ashland Performance Materials (Performance Materials) and Valvoline. Its Specialty Ingredients segment is engaged in providing cellulose ethers, vinyl pyrrolidones and biofunctionals, and consists of two divisions: Consumer Specialties and Industrial Specialties.
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