Equities analysts expect that Stepan (NYSE:SCL) will post $488.40 million in sales for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks reports. Two analysts have issued estimates for Stepan’s earnings, with estimates ranging from $475.10 million to $501.70 million. Stepan reported sales of $473.82 million in the same quarter last year, which indicates a positive year-over-year growth rate of 3.1%. The company is expected to issue its next earnings report on Thursday, February 28th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Stepan will report full year sales of $2.01 billion for the current year, with estimates ranging from $2.00 billion to $2.03 billion. For the next year, analysts forecast that the firm will report sales of $2.09 billion, with estimates ranging from $2.07 billion to $2.13 billion. Zacks’ sales averages are a mean average based on a survey of sell-side analysts that follow Stepan.

Stepan (NYSE:SCL) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, October 24th. The basic materials company reported $1.11 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.00 by $0.11. Stepan had a net margin of 4.78% and a return on equity of 15.02%. The business had revenue of $508.00 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $504.20 million. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.92 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 4.1% on a year-over-year basis.

A number of analysts have commented on the stock. TD Securities reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and set a $27.00 target price on shares of Stepan in a report on Wednesday, November 7th. Seaport Global Securities reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $95.00 price objective on shares of Stepan in a research note on Monday, November 5th. Stifel Nicolaus began coverage on shares of Stepan in a research note on Monday, December 10th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $94.00 price objective for the company. Finally, Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Stepan from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, October 19th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. Stepan currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $74.50.

SCL stock traded down $0.18 during midday trading on Friday, reaching $78.45. 56,200 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 77,488. Stepan has a 52-week low of $68.09 and a 52-week high of $90.96. The stock has a market cap of $1.74 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.87 and a beta of 1.10. The company has a current ratio of 2.49, a quick ratio of 1.90 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.34.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 14th. Stockholders of record on Friday, November 30th were paid a $0.25 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, November 29th. This is a boost from Stepan’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.23. This represents a $1.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.27%. Stepan’s dividend payout ratio is 21.51%.

In related news, VP Robert Victor Slone sold 3,741 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $80.32, for a total transaction of $300,477.12. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 4,619 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $370,998.08. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CFO Luis Rojo bought 400 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 14th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $78.72 per share, with a total value of $31,488.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the chief financial officer now directly owns 400 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $31,488. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 9,472 shares of company stock valued at $785,319. Corporate insiders own 12.60% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of SCL. BlackRock Inc. grew its stake in Stepan by 6.7% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 2,810,899 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $219,279,000 after acquiring an additional 176,940 shares in the last quarter. Matarin Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in Stepan during the third quarter valued at $14,000,000. Walthausen & Co. LLC purchased a new position in Stepan during the third quarter valued at $7,996,000. Alliancebernstein L.P. grew its stake in Stepan by 85.7% during the third quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 187,070 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $16,277,000 after acquiring an additional 86,337 shares in the last quarter. Finally, United Services Automobile Association grew its stake in Stepan by 1,891.6% during the second quarter. United Services Automobile Association now owns 57,317 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $4,471,000 after acquiring an additional 54,439 shares in the last quarter. 67.80% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Stepan Company Profile

Stepan Company, together with its subsidiaries, produces and sells specialty and intermediate chemicals to other manufacturers for use in various end products worldwide. The company operates through three segments: Surfactants, Polymers, and Specialty Products. The Surfactants segment offers surfactants that are used as principal ingredients in consumer and industrial cleaning products, including detergents for washing clothes, dishes, carpets, and floors and walls, as well as shampoos and body washes; and other applications, such as fabric softeners, germicidal quaternary compounds, and lubricating ingredients.

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