Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Monday. The firm currently has a $113.00 target price on the specialty chemicals company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price points to a potential upside of 11.88% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Albemarle’s adjusted earnings for the third quarter beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate while sales missed the same. The company backed its earnings outlook for 2018. Albemarle remains focused on strengthening its lithium business. It is well placed to leverage strong growth in the battery-grade lithium market. The company should also gain from the synergies of Rockwood Holdings acquisition. Further, Albemarle is divesting non-core assets to boost growth opportunities and focus on its key businesses. The company also remains committed to deliver incremental returns to shareholders.”

ALB has been the subject of a number of other research reports. SunTrust Banks raised Albemarle from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price target for the company from $110.00 to $115.00 in a research report on Tuesday, September 4th. Loop Capital set a $130.00 target price on Albemarle and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, October 8th. Berenberg Bank set a $130.00 target price on Albemarle and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, November 9th. ValuEngine lowered Albemarle from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, August 7th. Finally, Buckingham Research initiated coverage on Albemarle in a research report on Thursday. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $106.00 target price for the company. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and eighteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $123.08.

ALB traded up $0.02 during midday trading on Monday, reaching $101.00. 10,764 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,531,431. The firm has a market capitalization of $10.72 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.96, a PEG ratio of 1.31 and a beta of 1.53. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.38, a current ratio of 1.83 and a quick ratio of 1.18. Albemarle has a 52 week low of $86.75 and a 52 week high of $138.67.

Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, November 7th. The specialty chemicals company reported $1.31 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.25 by $0.06. The business had revenue of $778.00 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $796.79 million. Albemarle had a return on equity of 15.39% and a net margin of 10.44%. Albemarle’s quarterly revenue was up 3.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.08 EPS. As a group, sell-side analysts expect that Albemarle will post 5.42 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, EVP Karen G. Narwold sold 3,100 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $97.11, for a total transaction of $301,041.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 30,242 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,936,800.62. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. 0.80% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of ALB. Principal Financial Group Inc. increased its position in Albemarle by 334.1% during the 1st quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 741,798 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $68,795,000 after buying an additional 570,899 shares in the last quarter. Cornerstone Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in Albemarle by 19.7% during the 2nd quarter. Cornerstone Advisors Inc. now owns 3,730 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $352,000 after purchasing an additional 614 shares during the last quarter. Naples Global Advisors LLC boosted its stake in Albemarle by 19.7% during the 2nd quarter. Naples Global Advisors LLC now owns 19,133 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $1,805,000 after purchasing an additional 3,154 shares during the last quarter. Skylands Capital LLC purchased a new stake in Albemarle during the 2nd quarter valued at $943,000. Finally, Rothschild Investment Corp IL boosted its stake in Albemarle by 12.3% during the 2nd quarter. Rothschild Investment Corp IL now owns 76,522 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $7,218,000 after purchasing an additional 8,401 shares during the last quarter. 93.70% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Albemarle

Albemarle Corporation develops, manufactures, and markets engineered specialty chemicals worldwide. Its Lithium and Advanced Materials segment offers lithium compounds, including lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide, lithium chloride, and lithium specialties, as well as reagents, such as butyllithium and lithium aluminum hydride for applications in lithium batteries for consumer electronics and automobiles, high performance greases, thermoplastic elastomers for car tires, rubber soles, plastic bottles, catalysts for chemical reactions, organic synthesis processes, life science, pharmaceutical, and other markets.

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