First Mercantile Trust Co. reduced its stake in shares of Ross Stores Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST) by 22.3% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 10,975 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock after selling 3,155 shares during the period. First Mercantile Trust Co.’s holdings in Ross Stores were worth $623,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

Several other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in ROST. NN Investment Partners Holdings N.V. acquired a new position in Ross Stores during the first quarter valued at approximately $140,000. Evercore Wealth Management LLC increased its position in Ross Stores by 69.3% in the second quarter. Evercore Wealth Management LLC now owns 2,529 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock valued at $143,000 after buying an additional 1,035 shares during the period. Carroll Financial Associates Inc. increased its position in Ross Stores by 0.7% in the second quarter. Carroll Financial Associates Inc. now owns 2,605 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock valued at $147,000 after buying an additional 17 shares during the period. Independent Portfolio Consultants Inc. acquired a new position in Ross Stores during the second quarter valued at approximately $151,000. Finally, Citizens Financial Group Inc RI increased its position in Ross Stores by 51.6% in the first quarter. Citizens Financial Group Inc RI now owns 2,737 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock valued at $159,000 after buying an additional 931 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 89.55% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Ross Stores Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST) opened at 63.35 on Thursday. Ross Stores Inc. has a 12 month low of $43.47 and a 12 month high of $66.28. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $62.47 and its 200 day moving average is $58.16. The firm has a market cap of $25.12 billion, a P/E ratio of 24.11 and a beta of 0.84.

Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, August 18th. The apparel retailer reported $0.71 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.67 by $0.04. The company earned $3.18 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.13 billion. Ross Stores had a return on equity of 42.01% and a net margin of 8.55%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.63 earnings per share. Equities research analysts expect that Ross Stores Inc. will post $2.75 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 30th. Investors of record on Friday, September 2nd will be issued a dividend of $0.135 per share. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, August 31st. This represents a $0.54 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.85%. Ross Stores’s dividend payout ratio is presently 20.53%.

ROST has been the topic of several research reports. Vetr upgraded shares of Ross Stores from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $65.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Monday, August 1st. Miller Tabak initiated coverage on shares of Ross Stores in a research note on Friday, June 24th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $66.00 price target on the stock. Deutsche Bank AG restated a “buy” rating on shares of Ross Stores in a research note on Tuesday, June 14th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Ross Stores from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $66.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, July 20th. Finally, Citigroup Inc. upped their price target on shares of Ross Stores from $65.00 to $72.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, August 19th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and fifteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $65.09.

In related news, CEO Barbara Rentler sold 20,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, September 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $62.54, for a total value of $1,250,800.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director George Orban sold 56,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, July 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $57.52, for a total value of $3,221,120.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 506,750 shares in the company, valued at $29,148,260. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 2.40% of the company’s stock.

Ross Stores Company Profile

Ross Stores, Inc is an off-price retailer of name brand and designer apparel, accessories, footwear, and home fashions for the entire family. The Company operates two brands of off-price retail apparel and home fashion stores, Ross Dress for Less (Ross) and dd’s DISCOUNTS. As of December 31, 2014, the Company operated 1,210 Ross locations in 33 states, the District of Columbia and Guam, and 152 dd’s DISCOUNTS stores in 15 states.

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