Albemarle Co. (ALB) Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Albemarle Co. (NYSE:ALB) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Albemarle Corporation is a major producer of fine and performance chemicals including polymer intermediates, cleaning product intermediates and additives, agricultural chemical intermediates, pharmaceutical intermediates, catalysts, brominated flame retardants, bromine chemicals and potassium and chlorine chemicals. “

ALB has been the topic of several other research reports. Goldman Sachs Group Inc reaffirmed a conviction-buy rating and issued a $116.00 price target on shares of Albemarle in a report on Thursday, January 12th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $102.00 price target on shares of Albemarle in a report on Friday, January 6th. Robert W. Baird reaffirmed an outperform rating and issued a $125.00 price target on shares of Albemarle in a report on Friday, March 17th. Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed an outperform rating and issued a $130.00 price target (up previously from $114.00) on shares of Albemarle in a report on Thursday, March 2nd. Finally, Instinet upped their price target on Albemarle from $92.00 to $102.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Friday, January 6th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, nine have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $111.09.

Analyst Recommendations for Albemarle (NYSE:ALB)

Shares of Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) traded down 0.18% during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $104.26. The stock had a trading volume of 294,708 shares. The stock has a market cap of $11.74 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.34 and a beta of 1.41. Albemarle has a 12 month low of $61.51 and a 12 month high of $107.56. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $99.02 and a 200-day moving average price of $88.93.

Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Monday, February 27th. The company reported $0.78 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.73 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $696.70 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $642.68 million. Albemarle had a return on equity of 14.38% and a net margin of 6.92%. The firm’s revenue was down 3.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.03 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Albemarle will post $4.18 EPS for the current year.

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The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 3rd. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, March 15th will be given a dividend of $0.32 per share. This represents a $1.28 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.23%. This is a boost from Albemarle’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.31. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, March 13th. Albemarle’s payout ratio is presently 63.54%.

In other Albemarle news, CFO Scott Tozier sold 1,057 shares of Albemarle stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, January 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $90.62, for a total transaction of $95,785.34. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 29,722 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,693,407.64. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP Karen G. Narwold sold 392 shares of Albemarle stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, January 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $90.59, for a total transaction of $35,511.28. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 22,284 shares in the company, valued at $2,018,707.56. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 3,991 shares of company stock worth $361,246. Corporate insiders own 0.71% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Jennison Associates LLC boosted its position in Albemarle by 218.8% in the third quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 4,147,707 shares of the company’s stock valued at $354,587,000 after buying an additional 2,846,734 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank bought a new position in Albemarle during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $77,376,000. Columbus Circle Investors boosted its position in Albemarle by 14,545.6% in the third quarter. Columbus Circle Investors now owns 839,484 shares of the company’s stock valued at $71,767,000 after buying an additional 833,752 shares in the last quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board boosted its position in Albemarle by 15,853.4% in the third quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 304,710 shares of the company’s stock valued at $26,050,000 after buying an additional 302,800 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Guggenheim Capital LLC boosted its position in Albemarle by 71.1% in the fourth quarter. Guggenheim Capital LLC now owns 569,885 shares of the company’s stock valued at $49,055,000 after buying an additional 236,767 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 86.50% of the company’s stock.

About Albemarle

Albemarle Corporation is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of specialty chemicals across a range of end markets, including the petroleum refining, consumer electronics, energy storage, construction, automotive, steel and aerospace, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, crop protection, household appliances, heating, ventilation, aluminum finishing, food safety and custom chemistry services.

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