FY2016 EPS Estimates for Ashland Inc. (ASH) Reduced by Analyst
Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) – Analysts at Jefferies Group lowered their FY2016 earnings estimates for Ashland in a report released on Wednesday. Jefferies Group analyst L. Alexander now expects that the brokerage will earn $6.50 per share for the year, down from their prior forecast of $7.00. Jefferies Group currently has a “Buy” rating on the stock.
Ashland (NYSE:ASH) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $1.95 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.04 by $0.09. Ashland had a net margin of 3.86% and a return on equity of 15.90%. The firm earned $1.29 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.32 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.91 EPS.
A number of other research firms have also recently weighed in on ASH. Zacks Investment Research cut Ashland from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, July 4th. Credit Suisse Group AG cut Ashland from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and dropped their price target for the company from $122.00 to $119.00 in a research note on Thursday, July 28th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has issued a hold rating, five have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. Ashland currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $125.75.
Shares of Ashland (NYSE:ASH) opened at 117.90 on Thursday. The firm has a market cap of $7.32 billion, a P/E ratio of 39.34 and a beta of 1.11. Ashland has a 52 week low of $88.30 and a 52 week high of $125.00. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $117.72 and a 200 day moving average of $114.83.
Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in Ashland by 1.7% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 4,760,801 shares of the company’s stock valued at $546,398,000 after buying an additional 77,778 shares during the period. BlackRock Fund Advisors raised its stake in Ashland by 4.0% in the second quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 2,232,316 shares of the company’s stock valued at $256,203,000 after buying an additional 85,205 shares during the period. State Street Corp raised its stake in Ashland by 2.5% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 2,145,414 shares of the company’s stock valued at $235,921,000 after buying an additional 51,438 shares during the period. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. raised its stake in Ashland by 0.7% in the second quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 1,897,399 shares of the company’s stock valued at $217,764,000 after buying an additional 13,192 shares during the period. Finally, Neuberger Berman Group LLC raised its stake in Ashland by 0.6% in the second quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 1,132,279 shares of the company’s stock valued at $129,952,000 after buying an additional 7,095 shares during the period. 86.88% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.
In other news, VP Anne T. Schumann sold 496 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, July 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $121.61, for a total transaction of $60,318.56. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Company insiders own 1.27% of the company’s stock.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, August 19th were given a dividend of $0.39 per share. This represents a $1.56 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.32%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, August 17th. Ashland’s payout ratio is 51.32%.
Ashland Inc is engaged in specialty chemicals, and through Valvoline, is a consumer-branded lubricant supplier. The Company operates in three segments: Ashland Specialty Ingredients (Specialty Ingredients), Ashland Performance Materials (Performance Materials) and Valvoline. Its Specialty Ingredients segment is engaged in providing cellulose ethers, vinyl pyrrolidones and biofunctionals, and consists of two divisions: Consumer Specialties and Industrial Specialties.
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