Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH)’s share price gapped down before the market opened on Friday . The stock had previously closed at $113.58, but opened at $114.26. Ashland shares last traded at $117.74, with a volume of 178,861 shares trading hands.

Several equities analysts have weighed in on the company. Zacks Investment Research cut Ashland from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Monday, July 4th. Jefferies Group restated a “buy” rating on shares of Ashland in a report on Wednesday. Credit Suisse Group AG assumed coverage on Ashland in a report on Thursday, March 24th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $118.00 price target for the company. Finally, TheStreet upgraded Ashland from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, March 15th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $125.63.

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

Ashland (NYSE:ASH) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, April 27th. The company reported $1.83 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.74 by $0.09. The company earned $1.25 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.25 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $2.03 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 7.6% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts forecast that Ashland Inc. will post $7.13 earnings per share for the current year.

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

In related news, CFO J Kevin Willis sold 1,183 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $110.99, for a total value of $131,301.17. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now 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 accessible through the SEC website.

Other institutional investors have added to or reduced their stakes in the company. ProShare Advisors LLC boosted its position in Ashland by 12.7% in the fourth quarter. ProShare Advisors LLC now owns 11,028 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,133,000 after buying an additional 1,243 shares during the last quarter. US Bancorp DE boosted its position in Ashland by 13.6% in the fourth quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 13,361 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,373,000 after buying an additional 1,598 shares during the last quarter. Condor Capital Management boosted its position in Ashland by 0.3% in the fourth quarter. Condor Capital Management now owns 15,770 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,620,000 after buying an additional 54 shares during the last quarter. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd boosted its position in Ashland by 0.8% in the fourth quarter. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd now owns 20,433 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,098,000 after buying an additional 170 shares during the last quarter. Finally, PNC Financial Services Group Inc. boosted its position in Ashland by 22.0% in the fourth quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 25,854 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,657,000 after buying an additional 4,658 shares during 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.

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