Wedbush Securities Inc. raised its position in Albemarle Co. (NYSE:ALB) by 22.4% during the 1st quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 7,030 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock after buying an additional 1,287 shares during the quarter. Wedbush Securities Inc.’s holdings in Albemarle were worth $576,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently modified their holdings of ALB. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its stake in shares of Albemarle by 55,259.5% in the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 4,285,376 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $427,596,000 after buying an additional 4,277,635 shares during the period. Norges Bank bought a new stake in shares of Albemarle in the fourth quarter valued at $74,312,000. Eagle Asset Management Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Albemarle in the fourth quarter valued at $27,807,000. State of Tennessee Treasury Department raised its stake in shares of Albemarle by 1,358.2% in the fourth quarter. State of Tennessee Treasury Department now owns 353,023 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $27,207,000 after buying an additional 328,813 shares during the period. Finally, Principal Financial Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Albemarle by 29.4% in the fourth quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 1,345,000 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $103,659,000 after buying an additional 305,829 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 94.08% of the company’s stock.

In other news, EVP Karen G. Narwold sold 1,243 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $91.00, for a total value of $113,113.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 34,757 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,162,887. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CFO Scott Tozier sold 2,961 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $91.00, for a total value of $269,451.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 49,672 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,520,152. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.02% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Albemarle stock opened at $82.57 on Monday. Albemarle Co. has a 52 week low of $71.89 and a 52 week high of $108.74. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.37, a current ratio of 1.69 and a quick ratio of 1.10. The stock has a market cap of $8.74 billion, a P/E ratio of 15.07, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.89 and a beta of 1.64.

Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, February 20th. The specialty chemicals company reported $1.53 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.46 by $0.07. Albemarle had a return on equity of 15.82% and a net margin of 20.55%. The business had revenue of $921.70 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $894.45 million. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $1.34 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 7.4% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities research analysts predict that Albemarle Co. will post 6.17 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, April 1st. Investors of record on Friday, March 15th were given a dividend of $0.3675 per share. This represents a $1.47 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.78%. This is a boost from Albemarle’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.34. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, March 14th. Albemarle’s payout ratio is presently 26.82%.

Several analysts have issued reports on ALB shares. Loop Capital lowered their target price on Albemarle to $112.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research note on Friday, January 18th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Vertical Group decreased their price objective on Albemarle from $86.00 to $59.00 in a research note on Tuesday, January 15th. ValuEngine upgraded Albemarle from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, February 22nd. Buckingham Research decreased their price objective on Albemarle from $100.00 to $88.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research note on Friday, March 29th. Finally, Deutsche Bank boosted their price objective on Albemarle from $84.00 to $95.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, February 25th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $100.85.

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Albemarle Company Profile

Albemarle Corporation develops, manufactures, and markets engineered specialty chemicals worldwide. Its Lithium segment offers lithium compounds, including lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide, lithium chloride, and value-added lithium specialties, as well as reagents, such as butyllithium and lithium aluminum hydride for applications in lithium batteries for consumer electronics and electric vehicles, high performance greases, thermoplastic elastomers for car tires, rubber soles, plastic bottles, catalysts for chemical reactions, organic synthesis processes, life science, pharmaceutical, and other markets.

Further Reading: Outstanding Shares

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Albemarle (NYSE:ALB)

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