Stepan Company (NYSE:SCL) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Stepan Company produces specialty and intermediate chemicals which are sold to other manufacturers and then made into a variety of end products. They have three reportable segments: surfactants, polymers and specialty products. “

Several other research firms have also weighed in on SCL. TD Securities increased their price target on shares of Stepan Company from $39.00 to $41.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, December 7th. Wellington Shields upgraded shares of Stepan Company from a “hold” rating to an “accumulate” rating in a research report on Friday, February 24th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets increased their price target on shares of Stepan Company from $40.00 to $42.00 in a research report on Tuesday, January 10th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $51.00.

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Shares of Stepan Company (NYSE:SCL) opened at 79.68 on Tuesday. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $77.06 and a 200 day moving average of $76.47. Stepan Company has a 52 week low of $53.37 and a 52 week high of $87.00. The firm has a market cap of $1.79 billion, a PE ratio of 21.36 and a beta of 1.17.

Stepan Company (NYSE:SCL) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, February 22nd. The company reported $0.52 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.69 by $0.17. The company had revenue of $420.60 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $432.80 million. Stepan Company had a net margin of 5.03% and a return on equity of 16.74%. Stepan Company’s quarterly revenue was up .3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.74 EPS. Equities research analysts predict that Stepan Company will post $4.50 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, March 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 3rd were given a dividend of $0.205 per share. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, March 1st. This represents a $0.82 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.03%. Stepan Company’s dividend payout ratio is presently 21.19%.

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In other Stepan Company news, VP Jennifer Ansbro Hale bought 1,400 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 24th. The stock was purchased at an average price of $70.50 per share, for a total transaction of $98,700.00. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, VP Scott R. Behrens sold 657 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $77.96, for a total transaction of $51,219.72. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 6,140 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $478,674.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 3,961 shares of company stock valued at $309,833 in the last quarter. Company insiders own 14.40% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Morgan Stanley raised its position in shares of Stepan Company by 3.8% in the fourth quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 127,941 shares of the company’s stock worth $6,358,000 after buying an additional 4,709 shares in the last quarter. California State Teachers Retirement System raised its position in shares of Stepan Company by 1.7% in the fourth quarter. California State Teachers Retirement System now owns 35,745 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,776,000 after buying an additional 600 shares in the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its position in shares of Stepan Company by 4.9% in the fourth quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 907,057 shares of the company’s stock worth $45,072,000 after buying an additional 41,975 shares in the last quarter. Numeric Investors LLC raised its position in shares of Stepan Company by 26.0% in the fourth quarter. Numeric Investors LLC now owns 112,170 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,574,000 after buying an additional 23,127 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Acadian Asset Management raised its position in shares of Stepan Company by 2.7% in the fourth quarter. Acadian Asset Management now owns 312,808 shares of the company’s stock worth $15,545,000 after buying an additional 8,358 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 61.61% of the company’s stock.

About Stepan Company

Stepan Company produces specialty and intermediate chemicals, which are sold to other manufacturers and used in a variety of end products. The Company has three segments: Surfactants, Polymers and Specialty Products. The Company’s Surfactants segment offers products, which are principal ingredients in consumer and industrial cleaning products, such as detergents for washing clothes, dishes, carpets, floors and walls, as well as shampoos and body washes.

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