Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH)’s share price gapped up prior to trading on Thursday . The stock had previously closed at $112.73, but opened at $112.95. Ashland shares last traded at $114.41, with a volume of 93,865 shares trading hands.

ASH has been the subject of a number of analyst reports. TheStreet upgraded shares of Ashland from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, March 15th. Jefferies Group reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Ashland in a research report on Wednesday. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Ashland from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, March 29th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group AG began coverage on shares of Ashland in a research report on Thursday, March 24th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $118.00 target price for the company. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $125.63.

The firm has a market cap of $7.32 billion and a PE ratio of 34.29. The company has a 50-day moving average of $114.35 and a 200-day moving average of $106.15.

Ashland (NYSE:ASH) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, April 27th. The company reported $1.83 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.74 by $0.09. The business had revenue of $1.25 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.25 billion. Ashland’s revenue for the quarter was down 7.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $2.03 EPS. On average, analysts predict that Ashland Inc. will post $7.13 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, June 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, June 3rd were given a dividend of $0.39 per share. This represents a $1.56 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.32%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, June 1st.

In related news, CFO J Kevin Willis sold 1,183 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $110.99, for a total value of $131,301.17. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 11,240 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,247,527.60. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its stake in Ashland by 1.6% in the fourth quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 952,467 shares of the company’s stock valued at $97,825,000 after buying an additional 14,816 shares in the last quarter. US Bancorp DE raised its stake in Ashland by 13.6% in the fourth quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 13,361 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,373,000 after buying an additional 1,598 shares in the last quarter. Condor Capital Management raised its stake in Ashland by 0.3% in the fourth quarter. Condor Capital Management now owns 15,770 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,620,000 after buying an additional 54 shares in the last quarter. Monarch Partners Asset Management LLC raised its stake in Ashland by 3.5% in the fourth quarter. Monarch Partners Asset Management LLC now owns 96,450 shares of the company’s stock valued at $9,905,000 after buying an additional 3,225 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bank of Montreal Can raised its stake in Ashland by 11.0% in the fourth quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 93,671 shares of the company’s stock valued at $9,620,000 after buying an additional 9,316 shares in the last quarter.

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.

Get Analysts' Upgrades and Downgrades Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of analysts' upgrades, downgrades and new coverage with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.