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Ashland (ASH) Gains But Lags Market: What You Should Know

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Ashland (ASH) closed at $110.51 in the latest trading session, marking a +0.29% move from the prior day. This move lagged the S&P 500's daily gain of 0.95%. At the same time, the Dow added 0.8%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 0.25%.

Coming into today, shares of the chemical company had gained 12.8% in the past month. In that same time, the Basic Materials sector gained 3.51%, while the S&P 500 gained 0.1%.

Ashland will be looking to display strength as it nears its next earnings release. In that report, analysts expect Ashland to post earnings of $1.31 per share. This would mark year-over-year growth of 7.38%. Our most recent consensus estimate is calling for quarterly revenue of $593.1 million, down 6.89% from the year-ago period.

ASH's full-year Zacks Consensus Estimates are calling for earnings of $5.12 per share and revenue of $2.34 billion. These results would represent year-over-year changes of +36.53% and -1.51%, respectively.

Investors should also note any recent changes to analyst estimates for Ashland. These revisions typically reflect the latest short-term business trends, which can change frequently. As such, positive estimate revisions reflect analyst optimism about the company's business and profitability.

Our research shows that these estimate changes are directly correlated with near-term stock prices. We developed the Zacks Rank to capitalize on this phenomenon. Our system takes these estimate changes into account and delivers a clear, actionable rating model.

The Zacks Rank system, which ranges from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell), has an impressive outside-audited track record of outperformance, with #1 stocks generating an average annual return of +25% since 1988. Within the past 30 days, our consensus EPS projection has moved 0.2% higher. Ashland is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).

In terms of valuation, Ashland is currently trading at a Forward P/E ratio of 21.53. For comparison, its industry has an average Forward P/E of 16.37, which means Ashland is trading at a premium to the group.

The Chemical - Specialty industry is part of the Basic Materials sector. This group has a Zacks Industry Rank of 72, putting it in the top 29% of all 250+ industries.

The Zacks Industry Rank gauges the strength of our industry groups by measuring the average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the groups. Our research shows that the top 50% rated industries outperform the bottom half by a factor of 2 to 1.

Be sure to follow all of these stock-moving metrics, and many more, on Zacks.com.


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