BlackRock Advisors LLC boosted its stake in shares of Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) by 22.2% during the second quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 174,832 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 31,776 shares during the period. BlackRock Advisors LLC owned approximately 0.28% of Ashland worth $20,066,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.
Several other institutional investors have also recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Creative Planning raised its position in Ashland by 87.4% in the second quarter. Creative Planning now owns 997 shares of the company’s stock valued at $114,000 after buying an additional 465 shares during the last quarter. Global X Management Co. LLC raised its position in Ashland by 104.9% in the second quarter. Global X Management Co. LLC now owns 994 shares of the company’s stock valued at $114,000 after buying an additional 509 shares during the last quarter. Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC raised its position in Ashland by 200.0% in the second quarter. Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC now owns 1,500 shares of the company’s stock valued at $172,000 after buying an additional 1,000 shares during the last quarter. Northstar Group Inc. bought a new position in Ashland during the second quarter valued at about $200,000. Finally, DAVENPORT & Co LLC bought a new position in Ashland during the second quarter valued at about $208,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 86.88% of the company’s stock.
Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) opened at 117.98 on Tuesday. Ashland Inc. has a 1-year low of $88.30 and a 1-year high of $125.00. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $117.18 and a 200-day moving average price of $114.27.
Ashland (NYSE:ASH) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $1.95 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the 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 earned $1.29 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.32 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.91 EPS. Equities analysts forecast that Ashland Inc. will post $6.87 earnings per share for the current year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 15th. Investors of record on Friday, August 19th were paid a $0.39 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 17th. This represents a $1.56 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.32%. Ashland’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 51.32%.
ASH has been the topic of a number of recent analyst reports. Credit Suisse Group AG lowered 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 research report on Thursday, July 28th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Ashland from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, July 4th. Finally, Jefferies Group reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Ashland in a research report on Tuesday, September 13th. 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. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $125.75.
In related news, VP Anne T. Schumann sold 496 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $121.61, for a total value of $60,318.56. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. 1.27% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
Ashland Company Profile
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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