Ascena Retail Group Inc. (NASDAQ:ASNA) traded up 5.3% during trading on Thursday . The company traded as high as $7.74 and last traded at $7.59, with a volume of 1,227,438 shares trading hands. The stock had previously closed at $7.21.

A number of equities research analysts recently commented on the company. Zacks Investment Research lowered Ascena Retail Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, May 2nd. Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Ascena Retail Group in a research report on Wednesday, June 1st. Cowen and Company reissued a “market perform” rating and issued a $8.00 price target (down from $10.00) on shares of Ascena Retail Group in a research report on Wednesday, June 1st. FBR & Co reissued an “outperform” rating and issued a $15.00 price target (down from $18.00) on shares of Ascena Retail Group in a research report on Wednesday, June 1st. Finally, Telsey Advisory Group reissued a “market perform” rating and issued a $10.00 price target (down from $11.00) on shares of Ascena Retail Group in a research report on Wednesday, June 1st. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $13.73.

The firm has a 50 day moving average of $7.51 and a 200 day moving average of $8.22. The stock’s market capitalization is $1.49 billion.

Ascena Retail Group (NASDAQ:ASNA) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, May 31st. The company reported $0.15 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.13 by $0.02. The firm earned $1.67 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.74 billion. Ascena Retail Group’s revenue for the quarter was down 4.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.18 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Ascena Retail Group Inc. will post $0.69 earnings per share for the current year.

In other news, CFO Robert Giammatteo purchased 5,000 shares of Ascena Retail Group stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, June 2nd. The shares were bought at an average cost of $7.18 per share, with a total value of $35,900.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the chief financial officer now directly owns 14,678 shares in the company, valued at $105,388.04. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website.

A number of large investors recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Liberty Mutual Group Asset Management Inc. increased its stake in Ascena Retail Group by 51.4% in the fourth quarter. Liberty Mutual Group Asset Management Inc. now owns 110,453 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,088,000 after buying an additional 37,515 shares during the period. Mutual of America Capital Management LLC increased its stake in Ascena Retail Group by 4.9% in the fourth quarter. Mutual of America Capital Management LLC now owns 119,507 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,177,000 after buying an additional 5,631 shares during the period. New York State Common Retirement Fund increased its stake in Ascena Retail Group by 19.9% in the fourth quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund now owns 316,989 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,122,000 after buying an additional 52,506 shares during the period. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company MN increased its stake in Ascena Retail Group by 21.3% in the fourth quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 4,219,523 shares of the company’s stock valued at $41,562,000 after buying an additional 741,448 shares during the period.

Ascena Retail Group, Inc is a specialty retailer, which offers clothing, shoes and accessories for missy and plus-size women. The Company offers its products under the Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lane Bryant, maurices, dressbarn, Catherines and Justice brands. It operates through six segments: ANN, Justice, Lane Bryant, maurices, dressbarn and Catherines.

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