Stepan Co. (NYSE:SCL) shares reached a new 52-week high during mid-day trading on Thursday . The company traded as high as $68.00 and last traded at $67.51, with a volume of 31,766 shares trading hands. The stock had previously closed at $67.65.

A number of research analysts have issued reports on SCL shares. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Stepan from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $65.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Friday, July 8th. Seaport Global Securities lowered Stepan from an “accumulate” rating to a “neutral” rating and lifted their price target for the company from $61.00 to $63.00 in a research note on Tuesday, May 3rd. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $54.00.

The stock has a market cap of $1.50 billion and a PE ratio of 16.48. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $62.21 and its 200 day moving average price is $56.28.

Stepan (NYSE:SCL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 20th. The company reported $1.31 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.17 by $0.14. The firm had revenue of $454.60 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $453.45 million. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.91 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up .5% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Stepan Co. will post $4.31 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 15th. Investors of record on Wednesday, August 31st will be issued a dividend of $0.19 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, August 29th. This represents a $0.76 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.12%.

In related news, VP Frank Pacholec sold 1,750 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.19, for a total transaction of $114,082.50. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 56,489 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,682,517.91. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, VP Gregory Servatius sold 1,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, June 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.40, for a total value of $61,400.00. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 24,674 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,514,983.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Other hedge funds recently modified their holdings of the company. California State Teachers Retirement System boosted its stake in shares of Stepan by 1.7% in the fourth quarter. California State Teachers Retirement System now owns 35,745 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,776,000 after buying an additional 600 shares during the period. Rhumbline Advisers boosted 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 period. Principal Financial Group Inc. boosted 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 period. First Trust Advisors LP boosted its stake in shares of Stepan by 37.4% in the fourth quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 48,259 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,398,000 after buying an additional 13,134 shares during the period. Finally, Cornerstone Capital Management Holdings LLC. boosted 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 period.

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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