Ashland (ASH) Hits New Lifetime High

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.

Trade-Ideas LLC identified Ashland ( ASH) as a new lifetime high candidate. In addition to specific proprietary factors, Trade-Ideas identified Ashland as such a stock due to the following factors:

  • ASH has an average dollar-volume (as measured by average daily share volume multiplied by share price) of $114.9 million.
  • ASH has traded 2,950 shares today.
  • ASH is trading at a new lifetime high.

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More details on ASH:

Ashland Inc. operates as a specialty chemicals company worldwide. The company operates through Ashland Specialty Ingredients, Ashland Performance Materials, and Ashland Consumer Markets. The stock currently has a dividend yield of 1.3%. ASH has a PE ratio of 15.2. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate Ashland a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

The average volume for Ashland has been 970,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Ashland has a market cap of $8.3 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and chemicals industry. The stock has a beta of 0.54 and a short float of 7.3% with 4.60 days to cover. Shares are up 12% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

TheStreetRatings.com Analysis:

TheStreet Quant 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 and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.92, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. To add to this, ASH has a quick ratio of 1.54, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • ASHLAND INC has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past year. However, we anticipate this trend reversing over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ASHLAND INC reported lower earnings of $0.90 versus $7.87 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($7.43 versus $0.90).
  • ASH, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 9.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 19.5%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period, despite the company's weak earnings results. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Chemicals industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 83.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $405.00 million to $68.00 million.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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