Ashland Inc (ASH): Today's Featured Chemicals Winner

Ashland ( ASH) pushed the Chemicals industry higher today making it today's featured chemicals winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 1.5%. By the end of trading, Ashland rose $0.96 (1.1%) to $84.81 on light volume. Throughout the day, 483,988 shares of Ashland exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1,204,100 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $84.03-$85.05 after having opened the day at $84.69 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $83.85. Other companies within the Chemicals industry that increased today were: Methes Energies International ( MEIL), up 20.8%, Ceres ( CERE), up 18.1%, BioFuel Energy Corporation ( BIOF), up 7.5% and Omnova Solutions ( OMN), up 6.0%.

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. Ashland has a market cap of $6.5 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 153.4, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 4.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate Ashland a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ashland as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the negative front, Air Products & Chemicals ( APD), down 2.8%, Ferro ( FOE), down 2.2%, Monsanto Company ( MON), down 2.1% and Mosaic ( MOS), down 2.0%.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the chemicals industry could consider Materials Select Sector SPDR ( XLB) while those bearish on the chemicals industry could consider ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd ( SBM).

3x UPSIDE POTENTIAL: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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