Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Hold

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Tuesday, December 19th.

According to Zacks, “Albemarle has outperformed the industry it belongs to over a year.  Albemarle remains focused on strengthening its lithium business. It is well placed to leverage strong expected growth in the battery-grade lithium market. The company should also gain from the synergies of Rockwood Holdings acquisition. Albemarle is also divesting non-core assets to boost growth opportunities and focus on its key businesses. Moreover, the company remains committed to deliver incremental returns to shareholders. However, Albemarle faces headwinds associated with higher expected operational costs and high tax rate in 2017. Moreover, unfavorable impacts of Hurricane Harvey may continue to affect its results.”

A number of other research analysts also recently weighed in on the stock. Royal Bank of Canada restated a buy rating and set a $149.00 price objective on shares of Albemarle in a research report on Wednesday, October 18th. KeyCorp increased their price objective on shares of Albemarle from $125.00 to $150.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Monday, October 16th. Jefferies Group increased their price target on shares of Albemarle from $144.00 to $156.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, September 21st. Instinet increased their price target on shares of Albemarle from $134.00 to $146.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Monday, September 18th. Finally, Loop Capital initiated coverage on shares of Albemarle in a research report on Thursday, September 28th. They issued a buy rating and a $150.00 price target on the stock. Ten analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $128.38.

Shares of Albemarle (ALB) traded down $1.17 during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $133.52. 990,097 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,130,000. The stock has a market capitalization of $14,750.00, a PE ratio of 47.69, a P/E/G ratio of 1.77 and a beta of 1.69. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.35, a current ratio of 2.11 and a quick ratio of 1.56. Albemarle has a one year low of $90.35 and a one year high of $144.99.

Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, November 8th. The specialty chemicals company reported $1.08 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.07 by $0.01. Albemarle had a net margin of 30.07% and a return on equity of 11.61%. The firm had revenue of $755.00 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $732.19 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.91 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 15.4% on a year-over-year basis. equities analysts anticipate that Albemarle will post 4.46 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 2nd. Investors of record on Friday, December 15th were issued a dividend of $0.32 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, December 14th. This represents a $1.28 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.96%. Albemarle’s payout ratio is 45.71%.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Covenant Asset Management LLC lifted its holdings in Albemarle by 18.3% during the 4th quarter. Covenant Asset Management LLC now owns 12,868 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $1,646,000 after buying an additional 1,988 shares in the last quarter. Mitchell Mcleod Pugh & Williams Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Albemarle by 113.3% in the 4th quarter. Mitchell Mcleod Pugh & Williams Inc. now owns 3,200 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $409,000 after purchasing an additional 1,700 shares in the last quarter. Leavell Investment Management Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Albemarle by 2.1% in the 4th quarter. Leavell Investment Management Inc. now owns 48,099 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $6,151,000 after purchasing an additional 1,000 shares in the last quarter. Investors Asset Management of Georgia Inc. GA ADV bought a new stake in shares of Albemarle in the 4th quarter valued at about $234,000. Finally, First Citizens Bank & Trust Co. raised its holdings in shares of Albemarle by 6.8% in the 4th quarter. First Citizens Bank & Trust Co. now owns 6,431 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $822,000 after purchasing an additional 411 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 87.99% of the company’s stock.

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About Albemarle

Albemarle Corporation is a global developer, manufacturer and marketer of highly-engineered specialty chemicals. The Company operates through three segments: Lithium and Advanced Materials, Bromine Specialties and Refining Solutions. Lithium and Advanced Materials segment consist of two product categories: Lithium and Performance Catalyst Solutions.

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