Steph & Co. Sells 3,127 Shares of Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH)

Steph & Co. reduced its holdings in shares of Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASHFree Report) by 78.1% during the fourth quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The firm owned 878 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 3,127 shares during the period. Steph & Co.’s holdings in Ashland were worth $74,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. increased its position in Ashland by 9.8% during the first quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. now owns 3,668 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $361,000 after acquiring an additional 326 shares during the last quarter. American Century Companies Inc. increased its position in Ashland by 17.4% in the first quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 6,917 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $681,000 after buying an additional 1,025 shares in the last quarter. HighTower Advisors LLC increased its position in Ashland by 4.2% in the first quarter. HighTower Advisors LLC now owns 5,523 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $543,000 after buying an additional 221 shares in the last quarter. Citigroup Inc. increased its position in Ashland by 3.2% in the first quarter. Citigroup Inc. now owns 8,142 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $801,000 after buying an additional 249 shares in the last quarter. Finally, MetLife Investment Management LLC increased its position in Ashland by 25.0% in the first quarter. MetLife Investment Management LLC now owns 34,207 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $3,366,000 after buying an additional 6,835 shares in the last quarter. 93.95% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Analysts Set New Price Targets

ASH has been the subject of several research analyst reports. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased their target price on Ashland from $70.00 to $88.00 and gave the stock an “underweight” rating in a research report on Thursday, February 1st. Wolfe Research initiated coverage on Ashland in a report on Friday, March 1st. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $108.00 price target on the stock. Jefferies Financial Group upgraded Ashland from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and increased their price target for the stock from $100.00 to $126.00 in a report on Thursday, March 14th. TheStreet upgraded Ashland from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a report on Thursday, February 22nd. Finally, StockNews.com upgraded Ashland from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 31st. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company. According to data from MarketBeat, the stock presently has an average rating of “Moderate Buy” and an average target price of $101.00.

View Our Latest Analysis on Ashland

Ashland Price Performance

NYSE:ASH opened at $94.49 on Thursday. Ashland Inc. has a 12 month low of $70.82 and a 12 month high of $104.92. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $94.75 and a two-hundred day moving average of $85.44. The company has a current ratio of 3.30, a quick ratio of 1.88 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.44. The firm has a market cap of $4.73 billion, a P/E ratio of 30.78 and a beta of 0.92.

Ashland (NYSE:ASHGet Free Report) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, January 31st. The basic materials company reported $0.45 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.21 by $0.24. Ashland had a return on equity of 5.95% and a net margin of 7.62%. The company had revenue of $473.00 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $478.69 million. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.97 EPS. Ashland’s quarterly revenue was down 9.9% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts expect that Ashland Inc. will post 4.33 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Ashland Dividend Announcement

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 1st were issued a dividend of $0.385 per share. This represents a $1.54 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.63%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, February 29th. Ashland’s dividend payout ratio is currently 50.49%.

About Ashland

(Free Report)

Ashland Inc provides additives and specialty ingredients in the North and Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and internationally. It operates through Life Sciences, Personal Care, Specialty Additives, and Intermediates segments. The Life Sciences segment offers pharmaceutical solutions, including controlled release polymers, disintegrants, tablet coatings, thickeners, solubilizers, and tablet binders; nutrition solutions, such as thickeners, stabilizers, emulsifiers, and additives; and nutraceutical solutions comprising products for weight management, joint comfort, stomach and intestinal health, sports nutrition, and general wellness, as well as custom formulation, toll processing, and particle engineering solutions.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ashland (NYSE:ASH)

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