Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) shares reached a new 52-week high and low on Monday following a dividend announcement from the company. The stock traded as low as $78.53 and last traded at $78.45, with a volume of 7471 shares. The stock had previously closed at $78.09.
The newly announced dividend which will be paid on Friday, June 15th. Investors of record on Friday, June 1st will be issued a dividend of $0.225 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, May 31st. This represents a $0.90 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.15%. Ashland’s dividend payout ratio is 36.89%.
ASH has been the subject of a number of recent analyst reports. BMO Capital Markets initiated coverage on Ashland in a report on Tuesday, March 27th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $82.00 price target for the company. Credit Suisse Group set a $79.00 price target on Ashland and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, April 30th. Zacks Investment Research raised Ashland from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, April 3rd. ValuEngine raised Ashland from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, May 14th. Finally, TheStreet raised Ashland from a “c+” rating to a “b” rating in a report on Wednesday, May 2nd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $84.50.
The stock has a market cap of $4.85 billion, a P/E ratio of 32.06, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.26 and a beta of 1.13. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.73, a current ratio of 2.41 and a quick ratio of 1.49.
Ashland (NYSE:ASH) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, May 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.06 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.19. The firm had revenue of $974.00 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $955.39 million. Ashland had a positive return on equity of 5.77% and a negative net margin of 0.62%. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.71 EPS. equities analysts expect that Ashland Inc. will post 3.44 EPS for the current year.
Ashland declared that its Board of Directors has approved a share buyback plan on Tuesday, March 20th that permits the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the basic materials company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are generally a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.
In other Ashland news, VP Keith C. Silverman sold 1,678 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, March 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.02, for a total value of $117,493.56. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 1,358 shares in the company, valued at approximately $95,087.16. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. 1.14% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.
A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in ASH. Glenhill Advisors LLC bought a new position in Ashland in the 4th quarter valued at $64,147,000. Neuberger Berman Group LLC boosted its position in Ashland by 48.1% in the 1st quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 2,490,078 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $173,783,000 after buying an additional 808,605 shares during the last quarter. Lord Abbett & CO. LLC boosted its position in Ashland by 174.8% in the 1st quarter. Lord Abbett & CO. LLC now owns 1,249,166 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $87,179,000 after buying an additional 794,666 shares during the last quarter. Luminus Management LLC boosted its position in Ashland by 30.9% in the 4th quarter. Luminus Management LLC now owns 1,884,222 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $134,158,000 after buying an additional 444,785 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Two Sigma Investments LP boosted its position in Ashland by 27,639.3% in the 4th quarter. Two Sigma Investments LP now owns 358,011 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $25,490,000 after buying an additional 359,311 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 94.46% of the company’s stock.
Ashland Global Holdings Inc provides specialty chemical solutions worldwide. Its Specialty Ingredients segment provides products, technologies, and resources for solving formulation and product-performance challenges. It offers solutions using natural, synthetic, and semisynthetic polymers derived from plant and seed extract, cellulose ethers, vinyl pyrrolidones, and acrylic polymers, as well as polyester and polyurethane-based adhesives.
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