Big Lots Inc. (NYSE:BIG) hit a new 52-week high during mid-day trading on Wednesday . The stock traded as high as $53.45 and last traded at $52.92, with a volume of 856,994 shares traded. The stock had previously closed at $52.73.

Several equities research analysts have recently issued reports on the stock. Citigroup Inc. increased their price objective on shares of Big Lots from $53.00 to $62.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, June 6th. Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. assumed coverage on shares of Big Lots in a research report on Friday, June 3rd. They set an “outperform” rating and a $52.35 price objective for the company. MKM Partners increased their price objective on shares of Big Lots from $58.00 to $60.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 31st. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Big Lots from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, May 30th. Finally, Topeka Capital Markets assumed coverage on shares of Big Lots in a research report on Monday, May 23rd. They set a “hold” rating and a $42.00 price objective for the company. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company. Big Lots has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $48.78.

The stock has a market capitalization of $2.34 billion and a PE ratio of 17.51. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $50.43 and its 200 day moving average price is $44.07.

Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, May 27th. The company reported $0.82 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.70 by $0.12. The firm earned $1.31 billion during the quarter. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.60 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.5% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts expect that Big Lots Inc. will post $3.47 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, June 24th. Investors of record on Friday, June 10th were given a dividend of $0.21 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, June 8th. This represents a $0.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.59%.

In related news, EVP Lisa M. Bachmann sold 50,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, May 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.05, for a total transaction of $2,502,500.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 125,351 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,273,817.55. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Michael Allen Schlonsky sold 15,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, July 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.27, for a total transaction of $754,050.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 51,439 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,585,838.53. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Other hedge funds and institutional investors recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Bank of Montreal Can increased its position in Big Lots by 1.0% in the fourth quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 186,103 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,171,000 after buying an additional 1,833 shares during the last quarter. Liberty Mutual Group Asset Management Inc. increased its position in Big Lots by 51.3% in the fourth quarter. Liberty Mutual Group Asset Management Inc. now owns 33,440 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,289,000 after buying an additional 11,345 shares during the last quarter. Tributary Capital Management LLC increased its position in Big Lots by 35.4% in the fourth quarter. Tributary Capital Management LLC now owns 44,000 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,696,000 after buying an additional 11,500 shares during the last quarter. Sei Investments Co. increased its position in Big Lots by 22.9% in the fourth quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 65,248 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,515,000 after buying an additional 12,170 shares during the last quarter. Finally, California Public Employees Retirement System increased its position in Big Lots by 5.9% in the fourth quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 236,926 shares of the company’s stock worth $9,131,000 after buying an additional 13,100 shares during the last quarter.

Big Lots, Inc is a United States-based discount retailer. As of December 31, 2014, the Company, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, operated 1,460 stores in 48 states. The Company’s Food category includes beverage and grocery, candy and snacks, and specialty foods. Its Consumables category includes health and beauty, plastics, paper, chemical and pet departments.

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