Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) – Investment analysts at Jefferies Group cut their Q4 2016 earnings estimates for shares of Ashland in a research report issued on Wednesday. Jefferies Group analyst L. Alexander now anticipates that the brokerage will post earnings of $1.31 per share for the quarter, down from their prior forecast of $1.81. Jefferies Group has a “Buy” rating on the stock. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Ashland’s FY2017 earnings at $6.55 EPS and FY2018 earnings at $7.35 EPS.
Several other equities research analysts have also weighed in on the company. Credit Suisse Group AG lowered Ashland from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and decreased their price objective for the stock from $122.00 to $119.00 in a report on Thursday, July 28th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Ashland from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Monday, July 4th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has given a hold rating, five have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $125.75.
Ashland (NYSE:ASH) traded down 0.623% during midday trading on Friday, reaching $117.165. 407,661 shares of the company traded hands. Ashland has a one year low of $88.30 and a one year high of $125.00. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $117.72 and a 200-day moving average price of $114.83. The firm has a market capitalization of $7.28 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 39.094 and a beta of 1.11.
Ashland (NYSE:ASH) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $1.95 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.04 by $0.09. Ashland had a return on equity of 15.90% and a net margin of 3.86%. The firm had revenue of $1.29 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.32 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $1.91 EPS.
Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. raised its stake in Ashland by 3.4% in the first quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 11,999 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,319,000 after buying an additional 389 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC raised its stake in Ashland by 3.3% in the first quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 386,402 shares of the company’s stock valued at $42,463,000 after buying an additional 12,191 shares during the last quarter. Loomis Sayles & Co. L P raised its stake in Ashland by 97.4% in the first quarter. Loomis Sayles & Co. L P now owns 68,118 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,490,000 after buying an additional 33,605 shares during the last quarter. Strs Ohio raised its stake in Ashland by 1.7% in the second quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 103,914 shares of the company’s stock valued at $11,926,000 after buying an additional 1,702 shares during the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in Ashland by 14.2% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 82,034 shares of the company’s stock valued at $9,020,000 after buying an additional 10,195 shares during the last quarter. 86.88% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
In other news, VP Anne T. Schumann sold 903 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $120.00, for a total value of $108,360.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 1.27% of the stock is owned by insiders.
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 $0.39 dividend. This represents a $1.56 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.32%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 17th. Ashland’s payout ratio is 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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