Staples Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) shares dropped 6.8% during mid-day trading on Wednesday . The company traded as low as $8.51 and last traded at $8.70, with a volume of 18,725,485 shares trading hands. The stock had previously closed at $9.33.

SPLS has been the topic of a number of recent research reports. Jefferies Group cut Staples from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $9.00 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Wednesday, May 11th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reduced their price objective on Staples from $12.00 to $9.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research note on Thursday, May 19th. Vetr raised Staples from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $9.50 price objective on the stock in a research note on Monday, June 27th. Citigroup Inc. reaffirmed a “neutral” rating on shares of Staples in a research note on Wednesday, June 1st. Finally, Argus reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Staples in a research note on Friday, July 15th. Fifteen investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, one has given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $11.38.

The firm has a market capitalization of $5.60 billion and a PE ratio of 15.48. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $9.02 and its 200-day moving average is $9.41.

Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, August 17th. The company reported $0.12 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.12. The business earned $4.80 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.78 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.12 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 3.7% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts predict that Staples Inc. will post $0.91 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other news, General Counsel Michael Williams sold 12,458 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, June 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $8.59, for a total value of $107,014.22. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA increased its position in shares of Staples by 8.0% in the fourth quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 348,424 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,300,000 after buying an additional 25,910 shares during the last quarter. I.G. Investment Management LTD. increased its position in shares of Staples by 68.0% in the fourth quarter. I.G. Investment Management LTD. now owns 259,807 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,460,000 after buying an additional 105,200 shares during the last quarter. Marshall Wace LLP increased its position in shares of Staples by 151.0% in the fourth quarter. Marshall Wace LLP now owns 482,843 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,573,000 after buying an additional 290,501 shares during the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its position in shares of Staples by 6.1% in the fourth quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 5,497,048 shares of the company’s stock valued at $52,060,000 after buying an additional 316,995 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Trexquant Investment LP increased its position in shares of Staples by 347.0% in the fourth quarter. Trexquant Investment LP now owns 438,666 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,154,000 after buying an additional 340,520 shares during the last quarter.

Staples, Inc is a provider of products and services for business customers and consumers. The Company offers a selection of products, Websites and mobile platforms, and a range of copy, print and technology services. The Company operates through three business segments, which include North American Stores & Online, North American Commercial and International Operations.

Get Analysts' Upgrades and Downgrades Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of analysts' upgrades, downgrades and new coverage with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.