Stepan (SCL) Upgraded to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Stepan (NYSE:SCL) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Tuesday, January 2nd.

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. “

SCL has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Scotiabank upgraded shares of Stepan from an “underperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating and set a $32.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, November 14th. National Bank Financial upgraded shares of Stepan from a “sector perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and upped their price target for the stock from $27.00 to $35.00 in a report on Wednesday, October 11th. Finally, TD Securities restated a “buy” rating and issued a $33.00 price target on shares of Stepan in a report on Sunday, September 24th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating, three have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Stepan presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $35.60.

Stepan (NYSE SCL) traded up $2.09 during trading on Tuesday, reaching $79.75. 70,893 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 65,687. The stock has a market capitalization of $1,750.00, a P/E ratio of 20.29 and a beta of 1.30. The company has a current ratio of 2.64, a quick ratio of 2.08 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.38. Stepan has a 52 week low of $68.51 and a 52 week high of $92.97.

Stepan (NYSE:SCL) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 25th. The basic materials company reported $0.92 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.09 by ($0.17). Stepan had a net margin of 4.81% and a return on equity of 13.98%. The firm had revenue of $487.81 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $469.75 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.06 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 9.6% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts anticipate that Stepan will post 4.3 EPS for the current year.

In related news, VP Arthur W. Mergner sold 1,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $81.16, for a total value of $81,160.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 2,960 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $240,233.60. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, VP Debra Stefaniak sold 818 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $82.66, for a total transaction of $67,615.88. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 6,616 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $546,878.56. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders sold 2,650 shares of company stock valued at $215,793. 13.10% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Advisor Group Inc. lifted its position in shares of Stepan by 455.2% during the second quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 1,177 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $102,000 after buying an additional 965 shares during the last quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC lifted its position in shares of Stepan by 224.9% during the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 1,589 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $138,000 after buying an additional 1,100 shares during the last quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. lifted its position in shares of Stepan by 17.6% during the second quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 2,254 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $196,000 after buying an additional 337 shares during the last quarter. Amalgamated Bank lifted its position in shares of Stepan by 3.9% during the second quarter. Amalgamated Bank now owns 2,757 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $240,000 after buying an additional 104 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Suntrust Banks Inc. lifted its position in shares of Stepan by 4.7% during the second quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. now owns 3,275 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $285,000 after buying an additional 146 shares during the last quarter. 63.19% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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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