Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL reduced its stake in Stepan Company (NYSE:SCL) by 8.3% during the 3rd quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 26,600 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 2,400 shares during the period. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL owned approximately 0.12% of Stepan worth $2,225,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in SCL. HighTower Advisors LLC raised its stake in Stepan by 225.5% in the second quarter. HighTower Advisors LLC now owns 217,276 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $18,934,000 after buying an additional 150,522 shares in the last quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC raised its stake in Stepan by 151.1% in the second quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 160,351 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $13,973,000 after buying an additional 96,489 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in Stepan by 2.8% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 2,597,255 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $226,324,000 after buying an additional 71,360 shares in the last quarter. Eagle Asset Management Inc. raised its stake in Stepan by 26.6% in the third quarter. Eagle Asset Management Inc. now owns 169,023 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $14,539,000 after buying an additional 35,518 shares in the last quarter. Finally, American Century Companies Inc. raised its stake in Stepan by 160.2% in the second quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 54,368 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $4,738,000 after buying an additional 33,471 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 63.21% of the company’s stock.

Stepan Company (NYSE SCL) traded down $0.55 on Tuesday, hitting $81.44. The stock had a trading volume of 105,400 shares, compared to its average volume of 73,342. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.38, a current ratio of 2.64 and a quick ratio of 2.08. Stepan Company has a twelve month low of $68.51 and a twelve month high of $92.97. The firm has a market capitalization of $1,846.63, a PE ratio of 19.90 and a beta of 1.29.

Stepan (NYSE:SCL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The basic materials company reported $0.92 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.09 by ($0.17). Stepan had a return on equity of 13.98% and a net margin of 4.81%. The company had revenue of $487.81 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $469.75 million. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.06 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 9.6% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts forecast that Stepan Company will post 4.3 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 15th. Investors of record on Thursday, November 30th will be issued a dividend of $0.225 per share. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, November 29th. This represents a $0.90 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.11%. This is a positive change from Stepan’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.21. Stepan’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 23.32%.

In related news, VP Debra Stefaniak sold 818 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $82.66, for a total transaction of $67,615.88. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 6,616 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $546,878.56. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, VP Frank Pacholec sold 1,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, September 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $81.60, for a total value of $122,400.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 48,597 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,965,515.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 5,650 shares of company stock worth $458,343. Corporate insiders own 13.10% of the company’s stock.

A number of research firms have weighed in on SCL. National Bank Financial upgraded Stepan from a “sector perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and raised their price target for the company from $27.00 to $35.00 in a research note on Wednesday, October 11th. Zacks Investment Research cut Stepan from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday, October 20th. TD Securities reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $33.00 target price on shares of Stepan in a research report on Sunday, September 24th. Scotiabank upgraded Stepan from an “underperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating and set a $32.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, November 14th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets cut their target price on Stepan from $42.00 to $36.00 in a research report on Monday, August 14th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating, three have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Stepan presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $35.60.

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About Stepan

Stepan Company produces specialty and intermediate chemicals, which are sold to other manufacturers and used in a range of end products. The Company operates through three segments: Surfactants, Polymers and Specialty Products. The Company’s principal markets include manufacturers of cleaning and washing compounds (including detergents, shampoos, fabric softeners, toothpastes and household cleaners), paints, cosmetics, food, beverages, nutritional supplements, agricultural products and plastics.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Stepan (NYSE:SCL)

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