Stepan Co. (NYSE:SCL) reached a new 52-week high on Wednesday . The stock traded as high as $68.46 and last traded at $68.12, with a volume of 82,119 shares traded. The stock had previously closed at $67.23.

A number of research analysts have weighed in on SCL shares. Seaport Global Securities downgraded Stepan from an “accumulate” rating to a “neutral” rating and raised their price target for the company from $61.00 to $63.00 in a research note on Tuesday, May 3rd. TD Securities decreased their price target on Stepan from $39.00 to $37.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research note on Friday, August 12th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Stepan from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $65.00 price target for the company in a research note on Friday, July 8th. Finally, National Bank Financial upgraded Stepan from a “sector perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and raised their price target for the company from $32.00 to $37.00 in a research note on Monday. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $47.20.

The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $63.10 and its 200-day moving average price is $57.06. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.51 billion and a P/E ratio of 16.63.

Stepan (NYSE:SCL) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 20th. The company reported $1.31 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.17 by $0.14. The business earned $454.60 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $453.45 million. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up .5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.91 earnings per share. Equities analysts anticipate that Stepan Co. will post $4.31 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 15th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, August 31st will be paid a $0.19 dividend. This represents a $0.76 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.13%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, August 29th.

In related news, VP Scott C. Mason sold 9,368 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $64.10, for a total transaction of $600,488.80. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 25,270 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,619,807. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CEO F Quinn Stepan, Jr. sold 32,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, July 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.46, for a total value of $2,030,720.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 157,247 shares in the company, valued at $9,978,894.62. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of hedge funds and institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of SCL. Matarin Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in Stepan during the fourth quarter worth $5,567,000. 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 in 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 in 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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