LS Investment Advisors LLC increased its stake in shares of Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) by 51.2% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 6,944 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 2,352 shares during the period. LS Investment Advisors LLC’s holdings in Ashland were worth $797,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently bought and sold shares of ASH. TimesSquare Capital Management LLC bought a new position in Ashland during the first quarter valued at about $40,366,000. Samlyn Capital LLC bought a new position in Ashland during the first quarter valued at about $19,518,000. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its position in Ashland by 35.6% in the first quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 227,413 shares of the company’s stock valued at $25,005,000 after buying an additional 59,759 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp boosted 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 valued at $235,921,000 after buying an additional 51,438 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Natixis bought a new position in Ashland during the first quarter valued at about $5,278,000. 86.88% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) traded up 1.12% during trading on Wednesday, hitting $114.24. 432,728 shares of the stock were exchanged. The firm has a market capitalization of $7.09 billion, a PE ratio of 38.12 and a beta of 1.11. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $117.71 and a 200-day moving average price of $115.04. Ashland Inc. has a 12-month low of $88.30 and a 12-month high of $125.00.
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 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 earned $1.29 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.32 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $1.91 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Ashland Inc. will post $6.81 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, August 19th were paid a $0.39 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, August 17th. This represents a $1.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.37%. Ashland’s payout ratio is presently 51.32%.
ASH has been the topic of several research reports. Credit Suisse Group AG cut Ashland from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and dropped their price target for the company from $122.00 to $119.00 in a report on Thursday, July 28th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Ashland from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, July 4th. Finally, Jefferies Group reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Ashland in a research note on Tuesday, September 13th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has given a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Ashland currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $125.86.
In other news, VP Anne T. Schumann sold 496 shares of Ashland stock in a transaction on Monday, July 18th. The shares were 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 available through this link. 1.27% of the stock is currently owned by company 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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