Ashland Inc. (ASH) stock moves up, “Buy” rating reiterated by Jefferies Group Analysts

Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) shares rose on Wednesday Nov 23 with lower trade volume than normal after a number of analysts weighed in on the investing value of the stock and reiterated thier respective ratings.

Meanwhile, in early trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.03% fell 3.5 points to 19,019, essentially unchanged on the day. The S&P 500 SPX, -0.26% fell 7 points, or 0.3%, to 2,196, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.48% shed 34 points to 5,353, a loss of 0.6%.

Jefferies Group analysts reiterated its Buy rating on Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) in a note to investors, making it one of the more closely watched stocks on Wall Street. Jefferies Group currently has a rating of Buy on the shares. The one-year price target of $125.75 is higher than the opening price of $112.94, resulting a fair amount of other analysts to report on the stock in recent days. Looking back over the last year, Ashland Inc. stock has a high of $125.00. Typically, after analysts issue a “reiterated rating” report on a stock, they will later issue periodic revisions, such as a price target change.

Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) shares last traded at $113.59, a jump of $0.05 or 0.04% compared to the previous closing price. Opening at $112.94, they ranged from $112.51 and $114.43 throughout the day.

Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) now has a market cap of 7.04B.

Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) Average Daily Trading Volume

The stock’s average daily volume is 667,154 shares out of a total float 61,758,000 and some 33,563 shares traded hands yesterday, below the average. Trading volume is likely to increase in the next few days as swing traders often use increases in trading volume to identify substantial volume accumulation or dissemination by institutional investors.

While increased trading for short periods will not mean much, however, a trend of heavy trading volume on the buy side over a period of days or weeks expresses a positive indicator to market traders that institutions may be moving in, so institutional sponsorship is very important.

Institutional sponsorship is defined by ownership of a stock by mutual funds, banks, pension funds and other large institutions.

Professional investors such as these retain substantial teams of analysts researching thousands of stocks, so it is good corroboration to see them taking a postion in a stock you are researching.

Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) Moving Averages

A moving average can also act as support or resistance. In an uptrend a 50-day, 100-day or 200-day moving average may act as a support level, as shown in the figure below.

This is because the average acts like a floor (support), so the price bounces up off of it.

In a downtrend a moving average may act as resistance; like a ceiling, the price hits it and then starts to drop again.

By following the activity of these professional investors—and the moving averages they affect— traders are able to make make well planned trades.

Trades for Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) have ranged from $88.30 – 125.00, and the stock now has a 50-day MA of $112.39 and 200-day MA of $115.05. Today’s last price is 9.13%% under the 52 week high of $125.00.

Indeed, earnings growth is among the most crucial things to look at in regards to stock investing and, accordingly, investors seek companies that have been successful at growing their earnings by at least 25% for the past 3 years.

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