The Ashland Inc. (ASH) Rating Lowered to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

The Ashland Inc. (ASH) Rating Lowered to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report issued on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Ashland Inc. is a global leader in providing specialty chemical solutions to customers in a wide range of consumer and industrial markets, including architectural coatings, automotive, construction, energy, food and beverage, personal care and pharmaceutical. Through their three commercial units – Ashland Specialty Ingredients, Ashland Performance Materials and Valvoline – they use good chemistry to make great things happen for customers in more than 100 countries. “

A number of other analysts have also recently issued reports on ASH. Jefferies Group reissued a buy rating on shares of Ashland in a research report on Wednesday, July 6th. Credit Suisse Group AG lowered Ashland from an outperform rating to a neutral rating and cut their target price for the company from $122.00 to $119.00 in a report on Thursday, July 28th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has issued a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $125.86.

Shares of Ashland (NYSE:ASH) opened at 114.24 on Friday. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $117.67 and its 200 day moving average price is $115.04. Ashland has a 52 week low of $88.30 and a 52 week high of $125.00. The firm has a market capitalization of $7.09 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 38.12 and a beta of 1.11.

Ashland (NYSE:ASH) last released 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. The firm had revenue of $1.29 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.32 billion. Ashland had a net margin of 3.86% and a return on equity of 15.90%. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $1.91 EPS. On average, analysts anticipate that Ashland will post $6.81 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, August 19th were paid a $0.39 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 17th. This represents a $1.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.37%. Ashland’s payout ratio is presently 51.32%.

In other news, VP Anne T. Schumann sold 496 shares of Ashland stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $121.61, for a total value of $60,318.56. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 1.27% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in Ashland by 1.7% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 4,760,801 shares of the company’s stock worth $546,398,000 after buying an additional 77,778 shares during the period. BlackRock Fund Advisors increased its stake in Ashland by 4.0% in the second quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 2,232,316 shares of the company’s stock worth $256,203,000 after buying an additional 85,205 shares during the period. State Street Corp increased its stake in Ashland by 2.5% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 2,145,414 shares of the company’s stock worth $235,921,000 after buying an additional 51,438 shares during the period. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. increased its stake in Ashland by 0.7% in the second quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 1,897,399 shares of the company’s stock worth $217,764,000 after buying an additional 13,192 shares during the period. Finally, Neuberger Berman Group LLC increased its stake in Ashland by 0.6% in the second quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 1,132,279 shares of the company’s stock worth $129,952,000 after buying an additional 7,095 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 86.88% of the company’s stock.

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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