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

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Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Stepan (NYSE:SCL) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday morning, 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. “

Several other analysts have also recently commented on SCL. Seaport Global Securities upgraded shares of Stepan from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $101.00 price target for the company in a report on Thursday, April 2nd. CL King started coverage on shares of Stepan in a research note on Wednesday, March 18th. They set a neutral rating for the company. TheStreet upgraded shares of Stepan from a c+ rating to a b- rating in a report on Wednesday, April 29th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus increased their price objective on Stepan from $109.00 to $113.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Thursday, June 18th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $63.33.

Shares of Stepan stock opened at $95.40 on Tuesday. Stepan has a 12 month low of $69.33 and a 12 month high of $105.87. The company has a quick ratio of 1.84, a current ratio of 2.48 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.26. The stock has a market cap of $1.98 billion, a PE ratio of 21.01 and a beta of 0.98. The business has a fifty day simple moving average of $94.45 and a 200-day simple moving average of $95.18.

Stepan (NYSE:SCL) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, April 21st. The basic materials company reported $1.04 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.78 by $0.26. Stepan had a return on equity of 13.00% and a net margin of 5.81%. The firm had revenue of $449.90 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $448.67 million. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.31 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 8.0% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts expect that Stepan will post 4.43 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, June 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, May 29th were paid a dividend of $0.275 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, May 28th. This represents a $1.10 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.15%. Stepan’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 21.48%.

In related news, Director Edward J. Wehmer sold 1,183 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $93.43, for a total value of $110,527.69. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, VP Jason Scott Keiper bought 275 shares of Stepan stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 12th. The stock was bought at an average price of $92.00 per share, with a total value of $25,300.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the vice president now owns 1,370 shares in the company, valued at approximately $126,040. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders have bought a total of 1,126 shares of company stock worth $101,896 in the last 90 days. 6.20% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. FMR LLC lifted its stake in shares of Stepan by 189.0% in the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 341 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $30,000 after buying an additional 223 shares during the last quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. raised its holdings in Stepan by 19.4% in the 4th quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 29,412 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $3,013,000 after acquiring an additional 4,787 shares during the period. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. lifted its position in Stepan by 7.5% during the 4th quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 2,510 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $257,000 after acquiring an additional 176 shares during the last quarter. Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc. lifted its position in Stepan by 2.7% during the 4th quarter. Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc. now owns 206,236 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $21,127,000 after acquiring an additional 5,498 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bank of Montreal Can boosted its holdings in Stepan by 43.5% during the fourth quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 85,548 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $8,763,000 after acquiring an additional 25,934 shares during the period. 74.98% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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.

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