Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Stepan (NYSE:SCL) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday morning, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Stepan Company is a major manufacturer of specialty and intermediate chemicals used in a broad range of industries. Stepan is a leading producer of surfactants, which are the key ingredients in consumer and industrial cleaning compounds. The Company is also a leading supplier of polyurethane polyols used in the expanding thermal insulation market and C.A.S.E. (Coatings, Adhesives, Sealants, and Elastomers) industries. “

Several other equities analysts also recently commented on SCL. Royal Bank of Canada set a $184.00 price target on shares of Jazz Pharmaceuticals and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, July 3rd. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Whiting USA Trust II from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Tuesday, May 7th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Stepan currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $67.80.

Shares of NYSE SCL opened at $92.95 on Tuesday. The firm’s 50-day simple moving average is $90.65. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.32, a current ratio of 2.74 and a quick ratio of 2.01. The stock has a market cap of $2.10 billion, a PE ratio of 19.25 and a beta of 1.29. Stepan has a 12-month low of $69.17 and a 12-month high of $95.32.

Stepan (NYSE:SCL) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, April 30th. The basic materials company reported $1.31 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.27 by $0.04. The firm had revenue of $489.17 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $510.57 million. Stepan had a net margin of 5.40% and a return on equity of 14.24%. The business’s revenue was down 2.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $1.44 EPS. On average, equities analysts forecast that Stepan will post 4.95 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, CFO Luis Rojo bought 300 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 22nd. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $86.64 per share, for a total transaction of $25,992.00. Following the purchase, the chief financial officer now directly owns 1,900 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $164,616. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Gregory E. Lawton sold 2,201 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $91.14, for a total transaction of $200,599.14. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 17,315 shares in the company, valued at $1,578,089.10. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have purchased 1,000 shares of company stock worth $87,880 and have sold 5,332 shares worth $486,759. Corporate insiders own 11.40% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund grew its stake in Stepan by 1.8% in the 1st quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 7,849 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $687,000 after acquiring an additional 142 shares in the last quarter. Mason Street Advisors LLC grew its stake in Stepan by 3.4% in the 1st quarter. Mason Street Advisors LLC now owns 6,508 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $570,000 after acquiring an additional 215 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC grew its stake in Stepan by 189.0% in the 1st quarter. FMR LLC now owns 341 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $30,000 after acquiring an additional 223 shares in the last quarter. Piedmont Investment Advisors Inc. grew its stake in Stepan by 6.2% in the 1st quarter. Piedmont Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 5,119 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $448,000 after acquiring an additional 297 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Comerica Bank grew its stake in Stepan by 1.5% in the 1st quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 20,010 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $1,784,000 after acquiring an additional 300 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 71.92% of the company’s stock.

Stepan Company Profile

Stepan Company, together with its subsidiaries, produces and sells specialty and intermediate chemicals to other manufacturers for use in various end products in North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. The company operates through three segments: Surfactants, Polymers, and Specialty Products.

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