Pitcairn Co. reduced its position in shares of Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) by 34.2% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor 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 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other hedge funds have also recently made changes to their positions in ASH. Creative Planning increased its stake in shares of Ashland by 87.4% in the second quarter. Creative Planning now owns 997 shares of the company’s stock worth $114,000 after buying an additional 465 shares in the last quarter. Northstar Group Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Ashland during the second quarter worth $200,000. DAVENPORT & Co LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Ashland during the second quarter worth $208,000. IFP Advisors Inc increased 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 worth $246,000 after buying an additional 30 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Pegasus Partners Ltd. purchased a new stake in shares of Ashland during the first quarter worth $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. 528,283 shares of the stock traded hands. The firm has a market cap of $7.65 billion, a P/E ratio of 41.08 and a beta of 1.22. The company has a 50-day moving average of $116.43 and a 200-day moving average of $113.65. Ashland Inc. has a 52 week low of $88.30 and a 52 week high of $123.99.

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

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

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

In related news, VP Anne T. Schumann sold 496 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $121.61, for a total value of $60,318.56. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 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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