Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) VP Keith C. Silverman sold 1,678 shares of Ashland stock in a transaction that occurred 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 completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 1,358 shares in the company, valued at $95,087.16. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website.
ASH stock traded up $0.02 during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $69.51. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 395,573 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,135,177. The company has a current ratio of 1.96, a quick ratio of 1.29 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.76. Ashland Inc. has a 1 year low of $59.80 and a 1 year high of $77.16. The stock has a market cap of $4,329.88, a P/E ratio of 28.57, a P/E/G ratio of 2.17 and a beta of 1.15.
Ashland (NYSE:ASH) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Monday, January 29th. The basic materials company reported $0.42 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.43 by ($0.01). Ashland had a positive return on equity of 7.14% and a negative net margin of 0.08%. The business had revenue of $842.00 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $842.05 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $1.16 EPS. analysts forecast that Ashland Inc. will post 3.2 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, March 15th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, March 1st were paid a $0.225 dividend. This represents a $0.90 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.29%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, February 28th. Ashland’s payout ratio is presently 36.89%.
Ashland declared that its board has approved a share buyback plan on Tuesday, March 20th that permits the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the basic materials company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are often an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.
Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Nationwide Fund Advisors increased its holdings in shares of Ashland by 6.2% during the 3rd quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 280,734 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $18,357,000 after buying an additional 16,313 shares during the last quarter. First Trust Advisors LP acquired a new stake in shares of Ashland in the 3rd quarter valued at $405,000. New York State Common Retirement Fund boosted its stake in shares of Ashland by 0.6% in the 3rd quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund now owns 184,400 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $12,058,000 after purchasing an additional 1,162 shares in the last quarter. Los Angeles Capital Management & Equity Research Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Ashland in the 3rd quarter valued at $660,000. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its stake in shares of Ashland by 0.5% in the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 727,998 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $47,605,000 after purchasing an additional 3,488 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 93.58% of the company’s stock.
A number of equities research analysts have weighed in on the company. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Ashland from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, April 3rd. Monness Crespi & Hardt downgraded Ashland from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 31st. Credit Suisse Group upgraded Ashland from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating and boosted their price objective for the company from $68.18 to $79.00 in a report on Friday, March 23rd. Seaport Global Securities restated a “buy” rating and set a $81.00 price objective on shares of Ashland in a report on Wednesday, January 31st. Finally, BMO Capital Markets initiated coverage on Ashland in a report on Tuesday, March 27th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $82.00 price objective for the company. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $83.44.
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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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