KBC Group NV increased its stake in shares of Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) by 43.7% during the third quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 93,502 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 28,456 shares during the period. KBC Group NV owned approximately 0.15% of Ashland worth $10,842,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

Other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Eos Focused Equity Management L.P. bought a new position in Ashland during the third quarter valued at approximately $2,236,000. Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its position in Ashland by 0.7% in the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 678,806 shares of the company’s stock valued at $78,708,000 after buying an additional 4,613 shares during the last quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC boosted its position in Ashland by 2.7% in the third quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 1,162,647 shares of the company’s stock valued at $134,809,000 after buying an additional 30,368 shares during the last quarter. Advisor Partners LLC boosted its position in Ashland by 3.0% in the third quarter. Advisor Partners LLC now owns 2,044 shares of the company’s stock valued at $237,000 after buying an additional 60 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Aperio Group LLC boosted its position in Ashland by 15.4% in the third quarter. Aperio Group LLC now owns 20,307 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,355,000 after buying an additional 2,717 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 89.17% of the company’s stock.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ashland (NYSE:ASH)

Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) traded down 1.51% during midday trading on Monday, hitting $113.38. 626,350 shares of the stock traded hands. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $112.24 and its 200-day moving average is $115.08. The stock’s market capitalization is $7.03 billion. Ashland Inc. has a 12-month low of $88.30 and a 12-month high of $125.00.

Ashland (NYSE:ASH) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, November 8th. The company reported $1.52 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.61 by $0.09. Ashland had a negative net margin of 0.59% and a positive return on equity of 15.23%. The business earned $1.20 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.25 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $1.62 earnings per share. On average, analysts anticipate that Ashland Inc. will post $6.36 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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

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Several equities analysts recently commented on the stock. Deutsche Bank AG reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $125.00 target price on shares of Ashland in a research note on Monday. Jefferies Group reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $129.00 target price (down from $140.00) on shares of Ashland in a research note on Wednesday, November 23rd. TheStreet cut shares of Ashland from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 8th. Credit Suisse Group AG set a $119.00 target price on shares of Ashland and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 8th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research cut shares of 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 issued a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $123.33.

In other Ashland news, CFO J Kevin Willis sold 1,555 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $106.84, for a total value of $166,136.20. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. 1.27% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

About Ashland

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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