HL Financial Services LLC cut its position in Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) by 1.1% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The firm owned 15,653 shares of the company’s stock after selling 179 shares during the period. HL Financial Services LLC’s holdings in Ashland were worth $1,797,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Other institutional investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. State Street Corp increased its position 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. Pegasus Partners Ltd. purchased a new position in Ashland during the first quarter worth approximately $263,000. Credit Agricole S A increased its position in Ashland by 60.7% in the first quarter. Credit Agricole S A now owns 12,069 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,327,000 after buying an additional 4,557 shares during the period. M&T Bank Corp increased its position in Ashland by 101.3% in the first quarter. M&T Bank Corp now owns 5,156 shares of the company’s stock worth $567,000 after buying an additional 2,595 shares during the period. Finally, TimesSquare Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in Ashland during the first quarter worth approximately $40,366,000. Institutional investors own 86.89% of the company’s stock.
Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) traded down 3.33% during midday trading on Friday, reaching $118.22. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 2,026,037 shares. The firm has a market capitalization of $7.34 billion, a PE ratio of 39.45 and a beta of 1.22. Ashland Inc. has a 52 week low of $88.30 and a 52 week high of $125.00. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $117.07 and a 200 day moving average of $113.91.
Ashland (NYSE:ASH) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $1.95 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.04 by $0.09. Ashland had a net margin of 3.86% and a return on equity of 15.90%. The business had revenue of $1.29 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.32 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.91 EPS. On average, equities research analysts predict that Ashland Inc. will post $6.87 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, August 19th were issued a dividend of $0.39 per share. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 17th. This represents a $1.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.32%. Ashland’s dividend payout ratio is 51.32%.
A number of research firms have recently commented on ASH. Jefferies Group restated a “buy” rating on shares of Ashland in a report on Tuesday, September 13th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Ashland from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Monday, July 4th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group AG downgraded Ashland from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and cut their price objective for the stock from $122.00 to $119.00 in a report on Thursday, July 28th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has given a hold rating, five have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $125.75.
In other news, VP Anne T. Schumann sold 903 shares of Ashland stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $120.00, for a total transaction of $108,360.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Insiders own 1.27% of the company’s stock.
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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