Ashland Bumps up Quarterly Dividend By 9%

Ashland (ASH) raised its quarterly dividend by 9% to $0.30 per share. Ashland is a global provider of specialty chemical solutions.

The increased dividend is payable on June 15 to shareholders of record on June 1. Ashland’s annual dividend of $1.20 per share now reflects a dividend yield of 1.4%.

Last month, Ashland reported weaker-than-expected fiscal Q2 results. The company’s Q2 earnings of $1.05 per share missed Street estimates of $1.29. Total revenues of $598 million were below the consensus estimate of $635.66 million. (See Ashland stock analysis on TipRanks)

Following the fiscal Q2 earnings announcement, BMO Capital analyst John McNulty decreased the stock’s price target to $105 (19.5% upside potential) from $115 and reiterated a Buy rating.

McNulty said, “ASH’s margin profile surprised to the upside and early signs point to cash conversion even higher than expected. While clarity on guidance going forward to clearly ‘set the bar’ and help manage expectations is essential, we believe ASH has a solid runway to outperform.”

The rest of the Street is cautiously optimistic about the stock with a Moderate Buy consensus rating. That’s based on 5 Buys versus 1 Sell. The average analyst price target of $100.80 implies 14.7% upside potential to current levels. Shares have increased 14.1% over the past six months.

Ashland scores a 7 of 10 from TipRanks’ Smart Score rating system, indicating that the stock is likely to perform in line with market averages.

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