Jefferies Group restated their buy rating on shares of Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) in a research note published on Wednesday. They currently have a $129.00 price target on the stock, down from their prior price target of $140.00.

“With Valvoline expected to exit by Q3, proof of improvement in personal care and pharma is needed before the stock rebounds.”,” the firm’s analyst commented.

Other research analysts have also issued reports about the company. TheStreet lowered Ashland from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Tuesday, November 8th. Credit Suisse Group AG set a $119.00 target price on Ashland and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 8th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research downgraded Ashland from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Friday, October 7th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Ashland currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $121.50.

Shares of Ashland (NYSE:ASH) opened at 114.77 on Wednesday. The stock’s market capitalization is $7.12 billion. Ashland has a 12-month low of $88.30 and a 12-month high of $125.00. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $112.42 and its 200 day moving average price is $115.05.

Ashland (NYSE:ASH) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, November 8th. The company reported $1.52 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.61 by $0.09. The business had revenue of $1.20 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.25 billion. Ashland had a negative net margin of 0.59% and a positive return on equity of 15.23%. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.62 earnings per share. Analysts predict that Ashland will post $6.54 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 15th. Investors of record on Thursday, December 1st will be paid a dividend of $0.39 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, November 29th. This represents a $1.56 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.36%. Ashland’s payout ratio is -260.00%.

In related news, CFO J Kevin Willis sold 1,555 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $106.84, for a total transaction of $166,136.20. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 1.27% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Boys Arnold & Co. Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Ashland during the second quarter valued at $1,999,000. Capstone Asset Management Co. increased its stake in shares of Ashland by 1.3% in the second quarter. Capstone Asset Management Co. now owns 6,249 shares of the company’s stock valued at $717,000 after buying an additional 80 shares during the last quarter. Creative Planning increased its stake in shares of Ashland by 87.4% in the second quarter. Creative Planning now owns 997 shares of the company’s stock valued at $114,000 after buying an additional 465 shares during the last quarter. DAVENPORT & Co LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Ashland during the second quarter valued at $208,000. Finally, Northstar Group Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Ashland during the second quarter valued at $200,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 87.04% of the company’s stock.

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Ashland Company Profile

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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:ASH

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