Rhumbline Advisers trimmed its position in shares of Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) by 2.2% in the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 119,029 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 2,667 shares during the period. Rhumbline Advisers owned approximately 0.19% of Ashland worth $8,307,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in ASH. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. acquired a new stake in Ashland during the 4th quarter valued at $203,000. Good Life Advisors LLC bought a new position in Ashland during the 4th quarter valued at $234,000. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank boosted its stake in Ashland by 57.0% during the 4th quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 3,364 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $240,000 after acquiring an additional 1,222 shares during the last quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue bought a new position in Ashland during the 4th quarter valued at $263,000. Finally, Quantitative Systematic Strategies LLC bought a new position in Ashland during the 4th quarter valued at $375,000. 92.35% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Ashland stock opened at $77.25 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.73, a quick ratio of 1.49 and a current ratio of 2.41. Ashland Inc. has a 1 year low of $75.62 and a 1 year high of $76.67. The stock has a market capitalization of $4.77 billion, a PE ratio of 24.44, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.22 and a beta of 1.13.
Ashland declared that its board has initiated a share buyback program on Tuesday, March 20th that allows the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the basic materials company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are often an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.
In other news, VP Keith C. Silverman sold 1,678 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.02, for a total value of $117,493.56. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 1,358 shares in the company, valued at approximately $95,087.16. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Company insiders own 1.14% of the company’s stock.
A number of research analysts have commented on ASH shares. BMO Capital Markets started coverage on shares of Ashland in a research note on Tuesday, March 27th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $82.00 price objective on the stock. Credit Suisse Group set a $79.00 price objective on shares of Ashland and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, April 30th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Ashland from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 3rd. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Ashland from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday. Finally, TheStreet upgraded shares of Ashland from a “c+” rating to a “b” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 2nd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $84.50.
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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