W.R. Grace & Co. (GRA) Stock Price Up 1.3% on Strong Earnings

W.R. Grace & Co. (NYSE:GRA)’s share price rose 1.3% during mid-day trading on Thursday after the company announced better than expected quarterly earnings. The company traded as high as $75.26 and last traded at $76.16. Approximately 639,722 shares traded hands during trading, a decline of 1% from the average daily volume of 645,011 shares. The stock had previously closed at $75.18.

The specialty chemicals company reported $0.90 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.81 by $0.09. The firm had revenue of $429.50 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $411.50 million. W.R. Grace & Co. had a net margin of 8.54% and a return on equity of 48.21%. W.R. Grace & Co.’s quarterly revenue was up 6.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.80 earnings per share.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, December 7th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, November 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.21 per share. This represents a $0.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.10%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, November 14th. W.R. Grace & Co.’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 39.44%.

A number of brokerages have commented on GRA. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $77.00 target price on shares of W.R. Grace & Co. in a research note on Thursday. KeyCorp reaffirmed an “overweight” rating and set a $84.00 target price (up from $77.00) on shares of W.R. Grace & Co. in a research note on Thursday. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of W.R. Grace & Co. from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, October 20th. Loop Capital began coverage on shares of W.R. Grace & Co. in a research note on Thursday, September 28th. They set a “buy” rating and a $81.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Robert W. Baird reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $85.00 target price on shares of W.R. Grace & Co. in a research note on Friday, September 1st. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $80.82.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of W.R. Grace & Co. by 1.7% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 5,895,867 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $424,561,000 after acquiring an additional 98,017 shares during the period. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC raised its stake in shares of W.R. Grace & Co. by 68.9% in the 2nd quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 3,477,805 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $250,437,000 after acquiring an additional 1,418,816 shares during the period. Iridian Asset Management LLC CT raised its stake in shares of W.R. Grace & Co. by 2.1% in the 2nd quarter. Iridian Asset Management LLC CT now owns 3,362,061 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $242,102,000 after acquiring an additional 70,650 shares during the period. Teachers Advisors LLC raised its stake in shares of W.R. Grace & Co. by 25.2% in the 2nd quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 2,232,160 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $160,738,000 after acquiring an additional 449,288 shares during the period. Finally, Neuberger Berman Group LLC raised its stake in shares of W.R. Grace & Co. by 5.7% in the 2nd quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 1,380,372 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $99,401,000 after acquiring an additional 73,870 shares during the period. 84.70% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $72.30 and its 200-day moving average price is $70.68. The company has a market cap of $5.20 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 37.12 and a beta of 1.11.

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About W.R. Grace & Co.

W. R. Grace & Co (Grace) is engaged in the production and sale of specialty chemicals and specialty materials. The Company operates in two segments: Grace Catalysts Technologies and Grace Materials Technologies. The Grace Catalysts Technologies segment includes catalysts and related products and technologies used in refining, petrochemical and other chemical manufacturing applications.

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