Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) was the recipient of some unusual options trading on Monday. Stock investors bought 6,466 put options on the stock. This is an increase of 538% compared to the average daily volume of 1,014 put options.

Shares of Lowe’s Companies (NYSE:LOW) opened at 77.91 on Thursday. The firm has a market cap of $64.88 billion, a P/E ratio of 22.12 and a beta of 1.07. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $76.25 and its 200 day moving average price is $79.59. Lowe’s Companies has a 12-month low of $64.87 and a 12-month high of $86.25.

Lowe’s Companies (NYSE:LOW) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, August 23rd. The home improvement retailer reported $1.57 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.62 by ($0.05). The firm had revenue of $19.50 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $19.58 billion. Lowe’s Companies had a net margin of 4.51% and a return on equity of 62.02%. The firm’s revenue was up 6.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $1.37 EPS. Equities research analysts forecast that Lowe’s Companies will post $4.50 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 8th. Investors of record on Wednesday, October 25th will be paid a $0.41 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, October 24th. This represents a $1.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.10%. Lowe’s Companies’s dividend payout ratio is presently 46.20%.

Several brokerages recently commented on LOW. Longbow Research reissued a “buy” rating and set a $95.00 price target on shares of Lowe’s Companies in a research report on Monday, August 14th. Zacks Investment Research raised Lowe’s Companies from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $88.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Friday, August 11th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $75.00 price objective (down from $89.00) on shares of Lowe’s Companies in a research report on Thursday, August 24th. Piper Jaffray Companies reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $80.00 price objective (down from $83.00) on shares of Lowe’s Companies in a research report on Thursday, August 24th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets cut Lowe’s Companies from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and cut their price objective for the company from $89.00 to $82.00 in a research report on Wednesday, August 23rd. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $85.00.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of LOW. Waldron LP purchased a new stake in Lowe’s Companies during the first quarter valued at about $364,000. First Merchants Corp boosted its position in Lowe’s Companies by 47.1% during the first quarter. First Merchants Corp now owns 46,687 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock valued at $3,838,000 after buying an additional 14,954 shares during the period. AMF Pensionsforsakring AB boosted its position in Lowe’s Companies by 6.5% during the first quarter. AMF Pensionsforsakring AB now owns 1,254,165 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock valued at $103,105,000 after buying an additional 76,345 shares during the period. BTC Capital Management Inc. boosted its position in Lowe’s Companies by 2.8% during the first quarter. BTC Capital Management Inc. now owns 49,536 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock valued at $4,067,000 after buying an additional 1,350 shares during the period. Finally, Callahan Advisors LLC boosted its position in Lowe’s Companies by 2.3% during the first quarter. Callahan Advisors LLC now owns 71,266 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock valued at $5,859,000 after buying an additional 1,614 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 74.20% of the company’s stock.

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About Lowe’s Companies

Lowe’s Companies, Inc (Lowe’s) is a FORTUNE home improvement company. The Company operates approximately 2,370 home improvement and hardware stores. The Company offers a range of products for maintenance, repair, remodeling and decorating. The Company offers home improvement products in categories, including Lumber and Building Materials; Tools and Hardware; Appliances; Fashion Fixtures; Rough Plumbing and Electrical; Lawn and Garden; Seasonal and Outdoor Living; Paint; Flooring; Millwork, and Kitchens.

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