California Public Employees Retirement System Sells 3,437 Shares of Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH)

California Public Employees Retirement System decreased its stake in Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASHFree Report) by 3.7% in the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The firm owned 90,094 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 3,437 shares during the quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System owned about 0.18% of Ashland worth $7,359,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. increased its position in Ashland by 9.8% during the first quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. now owns 3,668 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $361,000 after acquiring an additional 326 shares during the last quarter. American Century Companies Inc. grew its holdings in Ashland by 17.4% during the 1st quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 6,917 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $681,000 after purchasing an additional 1,025 shares during the last quarter. HighTower Advisors LLC lifted its stake in Ashland by 4.2% in the first quarter. HighTower Advisors LLC now owns 5,523 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $543,000 after purchasing an additional 221 shares during the last quarter. Citigroup Inc. boosted its position in shares of Ashland by 3.2% during the first quarter. Citigroup Inc. now owns 8,142 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $801,000 after buying an additional 249 shares during the period. Finally, MetLife Investment Management LLC grew its stake in shares of Ashland by 25.0% during the first quarter. MetLife Investment Management LLC now owns 34,207 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $3,366,000 after buying an additional 6,835 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 90.08% of the company’s stock.

Ashland Stock Performance

Shares of NYSE:ASH opened at $80.73 on Tuesday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.93, a current ratio of 3.30 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.42. The company has a market capitalization of $4.10 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.69 and a beta of 0.93. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $81.77 and a 200 day moving average of $82.37. Ashland Inc. has a 52 week low of $70.82 and a 52 week high of $109.27.

Ashland (NYSE:ASHGet Free Report) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 9th. The basic materials company reported $0.41 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.47 by ($0.06). Ashland had a return on equity of 6.78% and a net margin of 8.07%. The company had revenue of $518.00 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $528.57 million. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.46 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was down 17.9% on a year-over-year basis. On average, sell-side analysts predict that Ashland Inc. will post 3.92 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Ashland Announces Dividend

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 1st will be given a $0.385 dividend. This represents a $1.54 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.91%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, February 29th. Ashland’s payout ratio is currently 47.09%.

Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades

ASH has been the subject of a number of recent analyst reports. UBS Group dropped their price objective on Ashland from $110.00 to $103.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a report on Thursday, November 9th. StockNews.com downgraded shares of Ashland from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, November 20th. TheStreet cut shares of Ashland from a “b-” rating to a “c+” rating in a research report on Friday, October 6th. BMO Capital Markets reduced their target price on shares of Ashland from $84.00 to $75.00 and set a “market perform” rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, November 15th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus lowered their price target on Ashland from $110.00 to $96.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a report on Monday, November 13th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Based on data from MarketBeat.com, Ashland has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $93.14.

Check Out Our Latest Analysis on Ashland

Insider Transactions at Ashland

In other Ashland news, insider Eric N. Boni sold 843 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, December 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $82.38, for a total value of $69,446.34. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 13,072 shares in the company, valued at $1,076,871.36. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Insiders own 0.69% of the company’s stock.

Ashland Company Profile

(Free Report)

Ashland Inc provides additives and specialty ingredients in the North and Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and internationally. It operates through Life Sciences, Personal Care, Specialty Additives, and Intermediates segments. The Life Sciences segment offers pharmaceutical solutions, including controlled release polymers, disintegrants, tablet coatings, thickeners, solubilizers, and tablet binders; nutrition solutions, such as thickeners, stabilizers, emulsifiers, and additives; and nutraceutical solutions comprising products for weight management, joint comfort, stomach and intestinal health, sports nutrition, and general wellness, as well as custom formulation, toll processing, and particle engineering solutions.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ashland (NYSE:ASH)

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