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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Ashland (NYSE: ASH) hit a new 52-week high Friday as it is currently trading at $70.40, above its previous 52-week high of $70.30 with 680,933 shares traded as of 12:40 p.m. ET. Average volume has been 773,800 shares over the past 30 days. Ashland has a market cap of $5.24 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and chemicals industry. Shares are up 18.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Ashland Inc. operates as a specialty chemicals company in the United States and internationally. It operates through four segments: Specialty Ingredients, Water Technologies, Performance Materials, and Consumer Markets.