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

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

Ashland ( ASH) pushed the Chemicals industry higher today making it today's featured chemicals winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.5%. By the end of trading, Ashland rose $0.97 (1.1%) to $91.25 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 1,049,572 shares of Ashland exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 630,600 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $90.01-$91.92 after having opened the day at $90.01 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $90.28. Other companies within the Chemicals industry that increased today were: Methes Energies International ( MEIL), up 23.3%, Verenium Corporation ( VRNM), up 2.5%, Marrone Bio Innovations ( MBII), up 2.5% and Pacific Ethanol ( PEIX), up 2.2%.

Ashland Inc., a specialty chemical company, provides specialty chemicals, technologies, and insights for customer needs worldwide. It operates through four segments: Ashland Specialty Ingredients, Ashland Water Technologies, Ashland Performance Materials, and Ashland Consumer Markets. Ashland has a market cap of $6.9 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are up 10.2% 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 good cash flow from operations, increase in stock price during the past year and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the negative front, Ceres ( CERE), down 8.8%, REX American Resources ( REX), down 4.0%, Sociedad Quimica Y Minera De Chile ( SQM), down 3.6% and American Pacific Corporation ( APFC), down 3.3% , were all laggards within the chemicals industry with Dow Chemical ( DOW) being today's chemicals industry laggard.

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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