Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Stepan (NYSE:SCL) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Stepan Company is a major manufacturer of specialty and intermediate chemicals used in a broad range of industries. Stepan is a leading producer of surfactants, which are the key ingredients in consumer and industrial cleaning compounds. The Company is also a leading supplier of polyurethane polyols used in the expanding thermal insulation market and C.A.S.E. (Coatings, Adhesives, Sealants, and Elastomers) industries. “

Several other equities analysts also recently commented on the company. Seaport Global Securities reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $95.00 target price on shares of Stepan in a research report on Monday, November 5th. ValuEngine raised Stepan from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, July 20th. Finally, TD Securities reaffirmed a neutral rating and issued a $27.00 target price on shares of Stepan in a research report on Wednesday, November 7th.

Shares of NYSE SCL opened at $84.50 on Friday. The company has a market cap of $1.95 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.17 and a beta of 1.17. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.34, a quick ratio of 1.90 and a current ratio of 2.49. Stepan has a twelve month low of $68.09 and a twelve month high of $90.96.

Stepan (NYSE:SCL) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 24th. The basic materials company reported $1.11 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.00 by $0.11. Stepan had a return on equity of 15.02% and a net margin of 4.78%. The firm had revenue of $508.00 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $504.20 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.92 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 4.1% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts anticipate that Stepan will post 4.67 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 14th. Stockholders of record on Friday, November 30th will be given a $0.25 dividend. This is an increase from Stepan’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.23. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, November 29th. This represents a $1.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.18%. Stepan’s dividend payout ratio is presently 19.35%.

In other news, VP Frank Pacholec sold 500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $89.49, for a total value of $44,745.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 36,482 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,264,774.18. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Edward J. Wehmer sold 1,400 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $84.91, for a total value of $118,874.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 6,213 shares of company stock worth $535,973 in the last ninety days. 12.60% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Principal Financial Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Stepan by 2.4% in the first quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 163,568 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $13,605,000 after buying an additional 3,822 shares during the period. Bank of Montreal Can boosted its stake in shares of Stepan by 3.5% in the second quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 33,486 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,612,000 after buying an additional 1,143 shares during the period. Foundry Partners LLC boosted its stake in shares of Stepan by 9.6% in the second quarter. Foundry Partners LLC now owns 130,229 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $10,159,000 after buying an additional 11,460 shares during the period. Cornerstone Wealth Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Stepan in the second quarter valued at approximately $560,000. Finally, Bessemer Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Stepan by 3.2% in the second quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 19,400 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,513,000 after buying an additional 600 shares during the period. 67.98% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Stepan

Stepan Company, together with its subsidiaries, produces and sells specialty and intermediate chemicals to other manufacturers for use in various end products worldwide. The company operates through three segments: Surfactants, Polymers, and Specialty Products. The Surfactants segment offers surfactants that are used as principal ingredients in consumer and industrial cleaning products, including detergents for washing clothes, dishes, carpets, and floors and walls, as well as shampoos and body washes; and other applications, such as fabric softeners, germicidal quaternary compounds, and lubricating ingredients.

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