Short Interest in Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) Declines By 5.6%

Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASHGet Rating) saw a large decline in short interest during the month of December. As of December 30th, there was short interest totalling 735,700 shares, a decline of 5.6% from the December 15th total of 779,300 shares. Approximately 1.4% of the company’s shares are sold short. Based on an average trading volume of 371,300 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 2.0 days.

Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades

ASH has been the subject of several recent research reports. Mizuho upped their target price on shares of Ashland from $136.00 to $141.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, January 12th. StockNews.com cut shares of Ashland from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday. Credit Suisse Group upped their price objective on shares of Ashland from $120.00 to $125.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, November 8th. UBS Group upped their price objective on shares of Ashland from $131.00 to $135.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 11th. Finally, Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft upped their price objective on shares of Ashland from $120.00 to $125.00 in a research report on Wednesday, November 9th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the stock. According to data from MarketBeat.com, the stock presently has a consensus rating of “Moderate Buy” and an average target price of $132.00.

Ashland Price Performance

Shares of NYSE ASH opened at $109.85 on Wednesday. The firm has a market cap of $5.95 billion, a PE ratio of 6.78 and a beta of 0.99. The company has a current ratio of 3.20, a quick ratio of 2.06 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.39. Ashland has a 1-year low of $83.29 and a 1-year high of $114.36. The company has a fifty day moving average price of $109.65 and a 200 day moving average price of $104.31.

Ashland (NYSE:ASHGet Rating) last announced its earnings results on Monday, November 7th. The basic materials company reported $1.46 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.39 by $0.07. The firm had revenue of $631.00 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $636.10 million. Ashland had a net margin of 38.77% and a return on equity of 10.17%. Research analysts predict that Ashland will post 6.14 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Ashland Dividend Announcement

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, March 15th. Investors of record on Wednesday, March 1st will be paid a $0.335 dividend. This represents a $1.34 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.22%. Ashland’s payout ratio is presently 8.27%.

Hedge Funds Weigh In On Ashland

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Eminence Capital LP boosted its stake in Ashland by 1.2% in the 2nd quarter. Eminence Capital LP now owns 4,083,978 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $420,854,000 after purchasing an additional 48,800 shares during the period. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP boosted its stake in shares of Ashland by 5.4% during the 3rd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 2,260,728 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $214,700,000 after buying an additional 115,858 shares during the last quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans boosted its stake in shares of Ashland by 3.4% during the 2nd quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 2,043,155 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $210,547,000 after buying an additional 67,631 shares during the last quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC boosted its stake in shares of Ashland by 1.2% during the 3rd quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 1,857,351 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $176,392,000 after buying an additional 21,482 shares during the last quarter. Finally, State Street Corp boosted its stake in shares of Ashland by 1.9% during the 3rd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 1,762,930 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $167,425,000 after buying an additional 33,518 shares during the last quarter. 92.21% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Ashland

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Ashland, Inc engages in the provision of architectural coatings, construction, energy, food and beverage, nutraceuticals, personal care, and pharmaceutical. It operates through the following segments: Life Sciences, Personal Care, Special Additives, and Intermediates. The company was founded in 1924 and is headquartered in Wilmington, DE.

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