Albemarle (ALB) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Albemarle remains focused on strengthening its lithium business. It is well placed to leverage strong growth in the battery-grade lithium market. The company should also gain from the synergies of Rockwood Holdings acquisition. Further, Albemarle is divesting non-core assets to boost growth opportunities and focus on its key businesses. The company also remains committed to deliver incremental returns to shareholders. However, Albemarle is facing headwinds associated with higher expected tax rate in 2018 and challenges in bromine and catalysts units. Moreover, a significant rise in capital spending is expected to hurt its free cash flows this year. Albemarle has also underperformed the industry it belongs to over a year.”

A number of other equities research analysts also recently issued reports on ALB. SunTrust Banks upgraded Albemarle from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their price target for the company from $110.00 to $115.00 in a research note on Tuesday, September 4th. ValuEngine raised Albemarle from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, September 21st. Vertical Group began coverage on Albemarle in a research report on Tuesday, September 25th. They set a “sell” rating and a $85.00 price objective on the stock. Vertical Research began coverage on Albemarle in a research report on Tuesday, September 25th. They set a “sell” rating and a $85.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, Loop Capital set a $130.00 price objective on Albemarle and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, October 8th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and seventeen have assigned a buy rating to the company. Albemarle presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $122.43.

Shares of Albemarle stock traded down $4.19 during trading hours on Thursday, reaching $89.00. 496,305 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,264,957. The company has a market cap of $9.90 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.39, a P/E/G ratio of 1.06 and a beta of 1.52. Albemarle has a one year low of $86.75 and a one year high of $138.67. The company has a quick ratio of 1.18, a current ratio of 1.83 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.38.

Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, November 7th. The specialty chemicals company reported $1.31 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.25 by $0.06. The business had revenue of $778.00 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $796.79 million. Albemarle had a return on equity of 15.39% and a net margin of 10.44%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 3.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.08 EPS. Research analysts anticipate that Albemarle will post 5.43 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, EVP Karen G. Narwold sold 3,100 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $96.54, for a total value of $299,274.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 27,142 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,620,288.68. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 0.80% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Credit Agricole S A purchased a new position in Albemarle in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $123,000. SeaCrest Wealth Management LLC lifted its holdings in Albemarle by 145.9% in the 2nd quarter. SeaCrest Wealth Management LLC now owns 1,692 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock worth $160,000 after purchasing an additional 1,004 shares in the last quarter. Valeo Financial Advisors LLC lifted its holdings in Albemarle by 17,210.0% in the 3rd quarter. Valeo Financial Advisors LLC now owns 1,731 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock worth $171,000 after purchasing an additional 1,721 shares in the last quarter. Evercore Wealth Management LLC purchased a new position in Albemarle in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $202,000. Finally, Palladium Partners LLC purchased a new position in Albemarle in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $205,000. 92.73% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Albemarle Company Profile

Albemarle Corporation develops, manufactures, and markets engineered specialty chemicals worldwide. Its Lithium and Advanced Materials segment offers lithium compounds, including lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide, lithium chloride, and lithium specialties, as well as reagents, such as butyllithium and lithium aluminum hydride for applications in lithium batteries for consumer electronics and automobiles, high performance greases, thermoplastic elastomers for car tires, rubber soles, plastic bottles, catalysts for chemical reactions, organic synthesis processes, life science, pharmaceutical, and other markets.

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