Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Rent-A-Center Inc. (NASDAQ:RCII) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report published on Monday morning.

According to Zacks, “Rent-A-Center’s extensive network of stores helps it penetrate target markets effectively. The company is taking prudent steps to optimize rental merchandise levels in accordance with sales trends. Moreover, management is focusing on a new labor model and supply chain initiative that it believes to generate substantial cost savings in 2016. The company is also concentrating on value-based pricing strategy and focusing on lowering its debt load. These seem inevitable following the company’s dismal second-quarter 2016 results. After registering earnings beat in the five straight quarters, Rent-A-Center succumbed to a negative earnings surprise in the second quarter, which also marks the fourth consecutive sales miss. Both top and bottom lines also declined year over year. Following the murky performance, management lowered its previously issued outlook for 2016.”

Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ:RCII) opened at 12.961 on Monday. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $12.58 and a 200-day moving average price of $13.15. Rent-A-Center has a 52 week low of $9.76 and a 52 week high of $26.26. The stock’s market capitalization is $688.44 million.

Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ:RCII) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 27th. The company reported $0.41 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.49 by $0.08. The company earned $749.60 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $782.12 million. Rent-A-Center had a positive return on equity of 14.03% and a negative net margin of 27.93%. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 8.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.50 EPS. Equities research analysts predict that Rent-A-Center will post $1.73 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, October 20th. Shareholders of record on Monday, October 3rd will be given a $0.08 dividend. This represents a $0.32 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.48%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 29th. Rent-A-Center’s payout ratio is -1.93%.

In other Rent-A-Center news, CEO Robert Dale Davis acquired 10,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 1st. The stock was purchased at an average price of $10.87 per share, with a total value of $108,700.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the chief executive officer now directly owns 131,850 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,433,209.50. The acquisition was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 3.40% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in RCII. ClariVest Asset Management LLC acquired a new position in Rent-A-Center during the second quarter worth $105,000. KCG Holdings Inc. acquired a new position in Rent-A-Center during the second quarter worth $125,000. Mason Street Advisors LLC acquired a new position in Rent-A-Center during the second quarter worth $127,000. Mackenzie Financial Corp acquired a new position in Rent-A-Center during the second quarter worth $132,000. Finally, Panagora Asset Management Inc. acquired a new position in Rent-A-Center during the second quarter worth $150,000. 98.58% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Rent-A-Center Company Profile

Rent-A-Center, Inc is a rent-to-own operator in North America. The Company provides an opportunity to obtain ownership of products, such as consumer electronics, appliances, computers (including tablets), smartphones and furniture (including accessories), under rental purchase agreements. The Company operates in four segments: Core U.S., Acceptance Now, Mexico and Franchising.

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