Stepan Company (NYSE:SCL) Downgraded to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Stepan Company (NYSE:SCL) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report sent to investors on Friday, October 20th.

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. “



Other research analysts have also issued reports about the stock. BidaskClub lowered shares of Stepan from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Saturday, August 5th. National Bank Financial cut their price objective on shares of Stepan from $40.00 to $27.00 and set a sector perform rating on the stock in a report on Monday, June 26th. TD Securities reiterated a buy rating and set a $33.00 price objective on shares of Stepan in a report on Sunday, September 24th. BMO Capital Markets cut their price objective on shares of Stepan from $42.00 to $36.00 in a report on Monday, August 14th. Finally, Wellington Shields lowered shares of Stepan from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, July 27th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating, three have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $36.25.

Stepan (NYSE SCL) opened at 79.07 on Friday. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.78 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.59 and a beta of 1.28. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $84.14 and its 200-day moving average is $83.81. Stepan has a 52 week low of $67.85 and a 52 week high of $92.97.

Stepan (NYSE:SCL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The basic materials company reported $0.92 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.09 by ($0.17). The firm had revenue of $487.81 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $469.75 million. Stepan had a return on equity of 13.98% and a net margin of 4.81%. Stepan’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.06 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts predict that Stepan will post $4.48 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 15th. Investors of record on Thursday, November 30th will be issued a $0.225 dividend. This is a positive change from Stepan’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.21. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, November 29th. This represents a $0.90 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.14%. Stepan’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 21.24%.

In related news, VP Frank Pacholec sold 1,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, September 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $81.60, for a total value of $122,400.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 48,597 shares in the company, valued at $3,965,515.20. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, Director Michael Ross Boyce sold 872 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $77.00, for a total transaction of $67,144.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 12,026 shares in the company, valued at approximately $926,002. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 29,404 shares of company stock worth $2,343,492 in the last 90 days. 13.10% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Bank of America Corp DE grew its position in Stepan by 119.8% in the first quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 119,448 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $9,413,000 after acquiring an additional 65,099 shares in the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC grew its position in Stepan by 4.5% in the first quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 310,300 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $24,455,000 after acquiring an additional 13,500 shares in the last quarter. Highbridge Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in Stepan in the first quarter valued at approximately $2,356,000. Russell Investments Group Ltd. grew its position in Stepan by 137.5% in the second quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 29,592 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,578,000 after acquiring an additional 17,132 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc. grew its position in Stepan by 0.6% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 2,151,859 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $187,513,000 after acquiring an additional 12,781 shares in the last quarter. 62.17% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Stepan

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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