Stepan Co. (NYSE:SCL) shares hit a new 52-week high during mid-day trading on Friday . The stock traded as high as $66.79 and last traded at $66.65, with a volume of 27,264 shares. The stock had previously closed at $65.71.

SCL has been the topic of several research analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Stepan from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $65.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Friday, July 8th. Seaport Global Securities lowered shares of Stepan from an “accumulate” rating to a “neutral” rating and increased their target price for the stock from $61.00 to $63.00 in a research note on Tuesday, May 3rd. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $54.00.

The firm has a 50-day moving average of $61.43 and a 200-day moving average of $55.60. The firm has a market cap of $1.49 billion and a PE ratio of 16.34.

Stepan (NYSE:SCL) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 20th. The company reported $1.31 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.17 by $0.14. The business earned $454.60 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $453.45 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.91 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up .5% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts forecast that Stepan Co. will post $4.31 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 15th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, August 31st will be paid a $0.19 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, August 29th. This represents a $0.76 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.14%.

In other news, CEO F Quinn Stepan, Jr. sold 32,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, July 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.46, for a total transaction of $2,030,720.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 157,247 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,978,894.62. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, VP Frank Pacholec sold 1,750 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.19, for a total value of $114,082.50. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 56,489 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,682,517.91. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Other hedge funds and institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Matarin Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in Stepan during the fourth quarter worth approximately $5,567,000. Principal Financial Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Stepan by 4.5% in the fourth quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 126,037 shares of the company’s stock worth $6,263,000 after buying an additional 5,378 shares during the last quarter. Bank of Montreal Can raised its stake in shares of Stepan by 875.5% in the fourth quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 53,973 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,681,000 after buying an additional 48,440 shares during the last quarter. Cornerstone Capital Management Holdings LLC. raised its stake in shares of Stepan by 66.0% in the fourth quarter. Cornerstone Capital Management Holdings LLC. now owns 78,349 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,894,000 after buying an additional 31,149 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Rhumbline Advisers raised its stake in shares of Stepan by 2.8% in the fourth quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 31,789 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,580,000 after buying an additional 855 shares during the last quarter.

Stepan Company produces specialty and intermediate chemicals, which are sold to other manufacturers and used in a variety of end products. The Company has three segments: Surfactants, Polymers and Specialty Products. The Company’s Surfactants segment offers products, which are principal ingredients in consumer and industrial cleaning products, such as detergents for washing clothes, dishes, carpets, floors and walls, as well as shampoos and body washes.

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