Stepan (SCL) Downgraded to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Stepan (NYSE:SCL) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note published on Friday.

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 subject of several other research reports. Seaport Global Securities restated a hold rating and issued a $95.00 price target on shares of Stepan in a report on Monday, November 5th. TD Securities restated a neutral rating and issued a $27.00 price target on shares of Stepan in a report on Wednesday, November 7th.

Stepan stock traded down $1.92 during midday trading on Friday, reaching $75.01. 84,193 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 65,063. The company has a current ratio of 2.49, a quick ratio of 1.90 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.34. The stock has a market cap of $1.73 billion, a PE ratio of 16.13 and a beta of 1.14. Stepan has a 1 year low of $68.09 and a 1 year high of $90.96.

Stepan (NYSE:SCL) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 24th. The basic materials company reported $1.11 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.00 by $0.11. The company had revenue of $508.00 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $504.20 million. Stepan had a return on equity of 15.02% and a net margin of 4.78%. The firm’s revenue was up 4.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.92 EPS. On average, equities analysts predict that Stepan will post 4.67 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 14th. Shareholders of record on Friday, November 30th will be issued a $0.25 dividend. This is a boost from Stepan’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.23. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, November 29th. This represents a $1.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.33%. Stepan’s payout ratio is 21.51%.

In other news, VP Robert Victor Slone sold 3,741 shares of Stepan stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.32, for a total value of $300,477.12. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 4,619 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $370,998.08. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, VP Arthur W. Mergner sold 1,500 shares of Stepan stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $83.75, for a total value of $125,625.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 9,225 shares in the company, valued at $772,593.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 9,255 shares of company stock valued at $775,225 in the last 90 days. 12.60% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Girard Partners LTD. acquired a new position in shares of Stepan in the 3rd quarter valued at about $103,000. Itau Unibanco Holding S.A. acquired a new position in shares of Stepan in the 2nd quarter valued at about $154,000. IFP Advisors Inc lifted its stake in shares of Stepan by 6,176.5% in the 3rd quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 2,134 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $186,000 after purchasing an additional 2,100 shares in the last quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Stepan in the 2nd quarter valued at about $202,000. Finally, Vident Investment Advisory LLC acquired a new position in Stepan during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $246,000. 67.83% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Stepan Company Profile

Stepan Company, together with its subsidiaries, produces and sells specialty and intermediate chemicals to other manufacturers for use in various end products worldwide. The company operates through three segments: Surfactants, Polymers, and Specialty Products. The Surfactants segment offers surfactants that are used as principal ingredients in consumer and industrial cleaning products, including detergents for washing clothes, dishes, carpets, and floors and walls, as well as shampoos and body washes; and other applications, such as fabric softeners, germicidal quaternary compounds, and lubricating ingredients.

See Also: Understanding Price to Earnings Ratio (PE)

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