Ashland (ASH) Rating Increased to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Ashland (NYSE:ASH) from a strong sell rating to a hold rating in a report published on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Ashland Global Holdings Inc. is engaged in providing specialty chemical solutions. It serves consumer and industrial markets which includes adhesives, architectural coatings, automotive, construction, energy, food and beverage, personal care and pharmaceutical sector. Ashland Global Holdings Inc., formerly known as Ashland Inc., is based in Covington, United States. “

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Other equities analysts have also issued research reports about the company. Seaport Global Securities reiterated a buy rating and issued a $81.00 target price on shares of Ashland in a research note on Wednesday, January 31st. Jefferies Group reiterated a buy rating on shares of Ashland in a research note on Tuesday, January 30th. Longbow Research upgraded Ashland from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a research note on Monday, March 26th. Credit Suisse Group upgraded Ashland from a neutral rating to an outperform rating and lifted their target price for the company from $68.18 to $79.00 in a research note on Friday, March 23rd. Finally, Monness Crespi & Hardt lowered Ashland from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 31st. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Ashland presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $83.44.

Shares of Ashland stock opened at $70.56 on Tuesday. Ashland has a 12 month low of $59.80 and a 12 month high of $77.16. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.76, a quick ratio of 1.29 and a current ratio of 1.96. The firm has a market cap of $4,307.48, a PE ratio of 18.31, a PEG ratio of 2.16 and a beta of 1.15.

Ashland (NYSE:ASH) last posted its earnings results on Monday, January 29th. The basic materials company reported $0.42 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.43 by ($0.01). Ashland had a negative net margin of 0.08% and a positive return on equity of 7.14%. The company had revenue of $842.00 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $842.05 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.16 EPS. sell-side analysts predict that Ashland will post 3.2 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, March 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 1st were issued a $0.225 dividend. This represents a $0.90 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.28%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, February 28th. Ashland’s dividend payout ratio is presently 36.89%.

Ashland announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase program on Tuesday, March 20th that allows the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the basic materials company to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In other Ashland news, SVP Anne T. Schumann sold 8,507 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, January 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $73.46, for a total value of $624,924.22. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider William J. Heitman sold 4,495 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.31, for a total value of $316,043.45. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 15,152 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,065,337.12. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 26,413 shares of company stock valued at $1,918,021. Corporate insiders own 1.14% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of ASH. Glenhill Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in Ashland in the fourth quarter worth about $64,147,000. Luminus Management LLC boosted its holdings in Ashland by 30.9% in the fourth quarter. Luminus Management LLC now owns 1,884,222 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $134,158,000 after acquiring an additional 444,785 shares in the last quarter. Two Sigma Investments LP boosted its holdings in Ashland by 27,639.3% in the fourth quarter. Two Sigma Investments LP now owns 358,011 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $25,490,000 after acquiring an additional 359,311 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. boosted its holdings in Ashland by 3.0% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 5,268,006 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $375,081,000 after acquiring an additional 151,606 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Renaissance Technologies LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Ashland by 53.0% during the fourth quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 354,575 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $25,246,000 after purchasing an additional 122,900 shares during the period. 93.57% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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Ashland Company Profile

Ashland Global Holdings Inc provides specialty chemical solutions worldwide. Its Specialty Ingredients segment provides products, technologies, and resources for solving formulation and product-performance challenges. It offers solutions using natural, synthetic, and semisynthetic polymers derived from plant and seed extract, cellulose ethers, vinyl pyrrolidones, and acrylic polymers, as well as polyester and polyurethane-based adhesives.

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Analyst Recommendations for Ashland (NYSE:ASH)

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