Investors Purchase High Volume of Ashland Put Options (ASH)

Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH) was the recipient of some unusual options trading on Wednesday. Investors acquired 2,154 put options on the stock. This represents an increase of approximately 776% compared to the average daily volume of 246 put options.

Several analysts recently weighed in on the company. Credit Suisse Group set a $86.00 target price on Ashland and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, May 11th. KeyCorp increased their target price on Ashland from $80.00 to $87.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Thursday, May 3rd. TheStreet upgraded Ashland from a “c+” rating to a “b” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 2nd. ValuEngine upgraded Ashland from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday. Finally, Monness Crespi & Hardt downgraded Ashland from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 31st. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Ashland has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $84.50.

Ashland stock opened at $77.25 on Friday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.49, a current ratio of 2.41 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.73. The company has a market capitalization of $4.71 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.66, a PEG ratio of 2.19 and a beta of 1.13. Ashland has a 12 month low of $75.62 and a 12 month high of $76.67.

Ashland (NYSE:ASH) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, May 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.06 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.19. The firm had revenue of $974.00 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $955.39 million. Ashland had a positive return on equity of 5.77% and a negative net margin of 0.62%. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.71 EPS. analysts expect that Ashland will post 3.44 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Ashland declared that its board has approved a stock repurchase plan on Tuesday, March 20th that permits the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the basic materials company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are often an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, VP Keith C. Silverman sold 1,678 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $70.02, for a total transaction of $117,493.56. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 1,358 shares in the company, valued at approximately $95,087.16. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. 1.14% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of ASH. Quantbot Technologies LP acquired a new position in Ashland in the 1st quarter valued at approximately $149,000. Bristol John W & Co. Inc. NY acquired a new position in shares of Ashland in the 1st quarter worth approximately $174,000. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Ashland in the 4th quarter worth approximately $203,000. Signition LP acquired a new position in shares of Ashland in the 1st quarter worth approximately $216,000. Finally, Good Life Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of Ashland in the 4th quarter worth approximately $234,000. 92.35% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Ashland

Ashland Global Holdings Inc provides specialty chemical solutions worldwide. Its Specialty Ingredients segment provides products, technologies, and resources for solving formulation and product-performance challenges. It offers solutions using natural, synthetic, and semisynthetic polymers derived from plant and seed extract, cellulose ethers, vinyl pyrrolidones, and acrylic polymers, as well as polyester and polyurethane-based adhesives.

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