State Board of Administration of Florida Retirement System trimmed its holdings in shares of Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) by 2.4% during the 1st quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 86,595 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 2,160 shares during the period. State Board of Administration of Florida Retirement System owned approximately 0.14% of Ashland worth $6,043,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Other large investors have also bought and sold shares of the company. State of Alaska Department of Revenue acquired a new position in Ashland in the 4th quarter worth about $263,000. Boussard & Gavaudan Investment Management LLP increased its position in Ashland by 8.8% in the 4th quarter. Boussard & Gavaudan Investment Management LLP now owns 113,232 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $8,085,000 after purchasing an additional 9,138 shares during the last quarter. Mutual of America Capital Management LLC increased its position in Ashland by 1.4% in the 4th quarter. Mutual of America Capital Management LLC now owns 54,649 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $3,891,000 after purchasing an additional 770 shares during the last quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank increased its position in Ashland by 57.0% in the 4th quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 3,364 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $240,000 after purchasing an additional 1,222 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Quantitative Systematic Strategies LLC acquired a new position in Ashland in the 4th quarter worth about $375,000. 94.46% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Shares of NYSE ASH opened at $77.75 on Thursday. The company has a current ratio of 2.41, a quick ratio of 1.49 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.73. The stock has a market cap of $4.89 billion, a PE ratio of 25.05, a P/E/G ratio of 2.28 and a beta of 1.13. Ashland Inc. has a 52 week low of $59.80 and a 52 week high of $79.68.
Ashland (NYSE:ASH) last issued 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 business 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 quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.71 EPS. research analysts expect that Ashland Inc. will post 3.44 earnings per share for the current year.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, June 1st will be issued a dividend of $0.225 per share. This represents a $0.90 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.16%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, May 31st. Ashland’s dividend payout ratio is 36.89%.
Ashland declared that its Board of Directors has approved a share buyback plan on Tuesday, March 20th that authorizes the company to buyback $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the basic materials company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are often an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.
Several research analysts have weighed in on ASH shares. Zacks Investment Research raised Ashland from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 30th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Ashland in a research report on Tuesday, January 30th. Monness Crespi & Hardt lowered Ashland from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 31st. Credit Suisse Group upped their target price on Ashland from $69.00 to $74.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 31st. Finally, Seaport Global Securities reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $81.00 target price on shares of Ashland in a research report on Wednesday, January 31st. 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’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $84.50.
In other news, VP Keith C. Silverman sold 1,678 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.02, for a total transaction of $117,493.56. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 1,358 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $95,087.16. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 1.14% of the company’s stock.
Ashland Company Profile
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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