Albemarle (ALB) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Albemarle remains focused on strengthening its lithium business. It is well placed to leverage strong growth in the battery-grade lithium market. The company should also gain from the synergies of Rockwood Holdings acquisition. Further, Albemarle is divesting non-core assets to boost growth opportunities and focus on its key businesses. The company also remains committed to deliver incremental returns to shareholders. However, Albemarle is facing headwinds associated with higher expected tax rate in 2018 and challenges in bromine and catalysts units. Moreover, a significant rise in capital spending is expected to hurt its free cash flows this year. Albemarle has also underperformed the industry it belongs to over a year.”

A number of other analysts have also commented on ALB. ValuEngine lowered Albemarle from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 28th. HSBC began coverage on Albemarle in a report on Monday, December 3rd. They issued a “hold” rating and a $112.50 price target on the stock. Buckingham Research began coverage on Albemarle in a report on Thursday, November 15th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $106.00 price target on the stock. Berenberg Bank set a $130.00 price target on Albemarle and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, November 9th. Finally, Vertical Group began coverage on Albemarle in a report on Tuesday, September 25th. They issued a “sell” rating and a $85.00 price target on the stock. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and seventeen have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $122.43.

NYSE:ALB opened at $88.65 on Thursday. Albemarle has a 1 year low of $86.75 and a 1 year high of $138.67. The company has a quick ratio of 1.18, a current ratio of 1.83 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.38. The stock has a market capitalization of $9.68 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.17, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.03 and a beta of 1.52.

Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, November 7th. The specialty chemicals company reported $1.31 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.25 by $0.06. The company had revenue of $778.00 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $796.79 million. Albemarle had a return on equity of 15.39% and a net margin of 10.44%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 3.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.08 earnings per share. As a group, equities research analysts anticipate that Albemarle will post 5.43 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, EVP Karen G. Narwold sold 3,100 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $96.54, for a total transaction of $299,274.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 27,142 shares in the company, valued at $2,620,288.68. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 0.80% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Rehmann Capital Advisory Group raised its holdings in Albemarle by 3,087.5% during the third quarter. Rehmann Capital Advisory Group now owns 255 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock worth $25,000 after acquiring an additional 247 shares in the last quarter. Credit Agricole S A bought a new stake in Albemarle during the second quarter worth about $123,000. SeaCrest Wealth Management LLC raised its holdings in Albemarle by 145.9% during the second quarter. SeaCrest Wealth Management LLC now owns 1,692 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock worth $160,000 after acquiring an additional 1,004 shares in the last quarter. Valeo Financial Advisors LLC raised its holdings in Albemarle by 17,210.0% during the third quarter. Valeo Financial Advisors LLC now owns 1,731 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock worth $171,000 after acquiring an additional 1,721 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Evercore Wealth Management LLC bought a new stake in Albemarle during the third quarter worth about $202,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 92.73% of the company’s stock.

About Albemarle

Albemarle Corporation develops, manufactures, and markets engineered specialty chemicals worldwide. Its Lithium and Advanced Materials segment offers lithium compounds, including lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide, lithium chloride, and lithium specialties, as well as reagents, such as butyllithium and lithium aluminum hydride for applications in lithium batteries for consumer electronics and automobiles, high performance greases, thermoplastic elastomers for car tires, rubber soles, plastic bottles, catalysts for chemical reactions, organic synthesis processes, life science, pharmaceutical, and other markets.

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