Stepan (NYSE:SCL) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Hold”

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Stepan (NYSE:SCL) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Stepan Company is a major manufacturer of specialty and intermediate chemicals used in a broad range of industries. Stepan is a leading producer of surfactants, which are the key ingredients in consumer and industrial cleaning compounds. The Company is also a leading supplier of polyurethane polyols used in the expanding thermal insulation market and C.A.S.E. (Coatings, Adhesives, Sealants, and Elastomers) industries. “

SCL has been the topic of a number of other research reports. ValuEngine cut Whiting USA Trust II from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, May 7th. Royal Bank of Canada set a $184.00 target price on Jazz Pharmaceuticals and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 3rd. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. Stepan currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $67.80.

Shares of NYSE SCL opened at $92.32 on Tuesday. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $90.34. The company has a quick ratio of 2.01, a current ratio of 2.74 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.32. Stepan has a 1-year low of $69.17 and a 1-year high of $95.32. The company has a market capitalization of $2.08 billion, a PE ratio of 18.92 and a beta of 1.29.

Stepan (NYSE:SCL) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, April 30th. The basic materials company reported $1.31 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.27 by $0.04. Stepan had a return on equity of 14.24% and a net margin of 5.40%. The company had revenue of $489.17 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $510.57 million. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.44 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.0% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities analysts predict that Stepan will post 4.95 EPS for the current year.

In other news, VP Frank Pacholec sold 1,931 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, June 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $91.94, for a total transaction of $177,536.14. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 8,664 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $796,568.16. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Director Edward J. Wehmer sold 1,200 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $90.52, for a total value of $108,624.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 10,253 shares in the company, valued at approximately $928,101.56. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have bought 1,000 shares of company stock worth $87,880 and have sold 5,332 shares worth $486,759. Corporate insiders own 11.40% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund boosted its holdings in shares of Stepan by 1.8% in the first quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 7,849 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $687,000 after purchasing an additional 142 shares during the period. Mason Street Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Stepan by 3.4% in the first quarter. Mason Street Advisors LLC now owns 6,508 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $570,000 after purchasing an additional 215 shares during the period. FMR LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Stepan by 189.0% in the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 341 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $30,000 after purchasing an additional 223 shares during the period. Piedmont Investment Advisors Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Stepan by 6.2% in the first quarter. Piedmont Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 5,119 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $448,000 after purchasing an additional 297 shares during the period. Finally, Comerica Bank boosted its holdings in shares of Stepan by 1.5% in the first quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 20,010 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,784,000 after purchasing an additional 300 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 71.92% of the company’s stock.

About Stepan

Stepan Company, together with its subsidiaries, produces and sells specialty and intermediate chemicals to other manufacturers for use in various end products in North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. The company operates through three segments: Surfactants, Polymers, and Specialty Products.

Further Reading: What are some reasons analysts would give stocks a buy rating?

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