Stepan Company (SCL) Upgraded to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Stepan Company (NYSE:SCL) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Friday, April 7th.

According to Zacks, “Stepan Company produces specialty and intermediate chemicals which are sold to other manufacturers and then made into a variety of end products. They have three reportable segments: surfactants, polymers and specialty products. “

Several other research firms also recently commented on SCL. Wellington Shields raised shares of Stepan Company from a hold rating to an accumulate rating in a report on Friday, February 24th. BMO Capital Markets raised their price objective on shares of Stepan Company from $40.00 to $42.00 in a report on Tuesday, January 10th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, two have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $57.40.

Shares of Stepan Company (NYSE:SCL) traded down 0.50% during midday trading on Friday, hitting $84.74. The stock had a trading volume of 51,627 shares. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $79.68 and its 200 day moving average price is $78.43. The company has a market cap of $1.94 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.81 and a beta of 1.17. Stepan Company has a 52 week low of $55.78 and a 52 week high of $89.90.

Stepan Company (NYSE:SCL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 25th. The basic materials company reported $1.36 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.19 by $0.17. Stepan Company had a net margin of 5.03% and a return on equity of 16.74%. The company earned $468.30 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $461.70 million. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.29 EPS. Stepan Company’s quarterly revenue was up 5.0% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts forecast that Stepan Company will post $4.64 earnings per share for the current year.

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The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 15th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, May 30th will be issued a $0.205 dividend. This represents a $0.82 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.97%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, May 25th. Stepan Company’s payout ratio is 21.19%.

In other news, VP Scott R. Behrens sold 1,623 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, March 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $77.26, for a total transaction of $125,392.98. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 4,805 shares in the company, valued at approximately $371,234.30. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, VP Jennifer Ansbro Hale bought 1,400 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 24th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $70.50 per share, for a total transaction of $98,700.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 36,893 shares of company stock valued at $3,138,169. Insiders own 14.40% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Victory Capital Management Inc. boosted its position in shares of Stepan Company by 12.2% in the third quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 1,523 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $111,000 after buying an additional 166 shares during the last quarter. Meadow Creek Investment Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Stepan Company by 1.8% in the first quarter. Meadow Creek Investment Management LLC now owns 1,568 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $124,000 after buying an additional 28 shares during the last quarter. Crow Point Partners LLC acquired a new position in shares of Stepan Company during the third quarter worth approximately $142,000. Glen Harbor Capital Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Stepan Company by 1.8% in the first quarter. Glen Harbor Capital Management LLC now owns 1,904 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $150,000 after buying an additional 34 shares during the last quarter. Finally, State of Alaska Department of Revenue boosted its position in shares of Stepan Company by 1.9% in the first quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 2,150 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $169,000 after buying an additional 40 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 61.61% of the company’s stock.

Stepan Company Company Profile

Stepan Company produces specialty and intermediate chemicals, which are sold to other manufacturers and used in a range of end products. The Company operates through three segments: Surfactants, Polymers and Specialty Products. The Company’s principal markets include manufacturers of cleaning and washing compounds (including detergents, shampoos, fabric softeners, toothpastes and household cleaners), paints, cosmetics, food, beverages, nutritional supplements, agricultural products and plastics.

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