Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) was the recipient of a large increase in short interest in the month of December. As of December 30th, there was short interest totalling 13,970,848 shares, an increase of 9.7% from the December 15th total of 12,737,914 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 7,301,388 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 1.9 days. Currently, 2.2% of the shares of the stock are short sold.

SPLS has been the topic of several research reports. Loop Capital initiated coverage on shares of Staples in a report on Tuesday, December 13th. They set a “hold” rating and a $10.00 price target on the stock. TheStreet raised shares of Staples from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, December 5th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Staples from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, November 10th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $9.00 price target on shares of Staples in a report on Friday, November 18th. Finally, Telsey Advisory Group lifted their price target on shares of Staples from $8.00 to $9.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a report on Thursday, November 17th. Fourteen research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, one has assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $10.05.

In other Staples news, SVP Mark Conte sold 5,195 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, December 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $9.97, for a total value of $51,794.15. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 80,431 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $801,897.07. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. 1.80% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Mackenzie Financial Corp acquired a new stake in shares of Staples during the second quarter worth approximately $100,000. Concert Wealth Management Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Staples during the second quarter worth approximately $103,000. Veritable L.P. acquired a new stake in shares of Staples during the second quarter worth approximately $103,000. Lapides Asset Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Staples during the second quarter worth approximately $106,000. Finally, Victory Capital Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Staples by 50.5% in the third quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 12,417 shares of the company’s stock worth $106,000 after buying an additional 4,168 shares during the last quarter. 84.09% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) opened at 9.17 on Friday. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $9.61 and a 200-day moving average of $8.76. The firm’s market cap is $5.97 billion. Staples has a 12 month low of $7.24 and a 12 month high of $11.37.

Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, November 17th. The company reported $0.34 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $0.34. Staples had a negative net margin of 2.25% and a positive return on equity of 11.46%. The firm had revenue of $5.40 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.40 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.35 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was down 4.3% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts predict that Staples will post $0.88 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, January 12th. Investors of record on Wednesday, December 21st were paid a $0.12 dividend. This represents a $0.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 5.23%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, December 19th. Staples’s payout ratio is -66.67%.

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Staples Company Profile

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.

5 Day Chart for NASDAQ:SPLS

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