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

SCL has been the topic of a number of research analyst reports. Seaport Global Securities lowered shares of Stepan from an “accumulate” rating to a “neutral” rating and raised their target price for the company from $61.00 to $63.00 in a research note on Tuesday, May 3rd. Zacks Investment Research upgraded 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. TD Securities lowered their target price on shares of Stepan from $39.00 to $37.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research note on Friday, August 12th. Finally, National Bank Financial upgraded shares of Stepan from a “sector perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and raised their target price 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. Stepan currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $47.20.

The stock has a 50 day moving average of $63.74 and a 200-day moving average of $57.23. The company has a market cap of $1.54 billion and a P/E ratio of 16.94.

Stepan (NYSE:SCL) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 20th. The company reported $1.31 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.17 by $0.14. The company earned $454.60 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $453.45 million. Stepan’s revenue for the quarter was up .5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.91 earnings per share. Equities research analysts predict that Stepan Co. will post $4.31 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 15th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, August 31st will be given a $0.19 dividend. This represents a $0.76 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.10%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, August 29th.

In other news, CEO F Quinn Stepan, Jr. sold 32,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, July 21st. The shares were 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 of the company’s stock, valued at $9,978,894.62. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, VP Gregory Servatius sold 1,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, June 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.40, for a total transaction of $61,400.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 24,674 shares in the company, valued at $1,514,983.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Several institutional investors recently modified their holdings of the stock. Rhumbline Advisers raised its position in shares of Stepan by 2.8% in the fourth quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 31,789 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,580,000 after buying an additional 855 shares during the last quarter. Bank of Montreal Can raised its position 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 valued at $2,681,000 after buying an additional 48,440 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Matarin Capital Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Stepan during the fourth quarter valued at $5,567,000.

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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