Pitcairn Co. cut its stake in shares of Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) by 34.2% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 9,195 shares of the company’s stock after selling 4,771 shares during the period. Pitcairn Co.’s holdings in Ashland were worth $1,055,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other hedge funds also recently made changes to their positions in ASH. Creative Planning boosted 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. Northstar Group Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Ashland during the second quarter valued at approximately $200,000. DAVENPORT & Co LLC bought a new stake in shares of Ashland during the second quarter valued at approximately $208,000. IFP Advisors Inc boosted its stake in shares of Ashland by 1.4% in the first quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 2,239 shares of the company’s stock valued at $246,000 after buying an additional 30 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Pegasus Partners Ltd. bought a new stake in shares of Ashland during the first quarter valued at approximately $263,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 86.90% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) traded up 0.65% during trading on Tuesday, hitting $123.12. The stock had a trading volume of 528,283 shares. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $116.43 and a 200-day moving average price of $113.65. Ashland Inc. has a 52 week low of $88.30 and a 52 week high of $123.99. The stock has a market capitalization of $7.65 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 41.08 and a beta of 1.22.

Ashland (NYSE:ASH) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $1.95 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.04 by $0.09. The firm had revenue of $1.29 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.32 billion. Ashland had a net margin of 3.86% and a return on equity of 15.90%. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $1.91 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Ashland Inc. will post $6.87 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 15th. Investors of record on Friday, August 19th were issued a dividend of $0.39 per share. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 17th. This represents a $1.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.27%. Ashland’s dividend payout ratio is 51.32%.

ASH has been the topic of several analyst reports. Jefferies Group reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Ashland in a report on Wednesday, July 6th. Credit Suisse Group AG cut Ashland from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and reduced their target price for the company from $122.00 to $119.00 in a report on Thursday, July 28th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research cut Ashland from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Monday, July 4th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has assigned a hold rating, five have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $125.75.

In related news, VP Anne T. Schumann sold 496 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $121.61, for a total transaction of $60,318.56. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Corporate insiders own 1.27% of the company’s stock.

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.

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