Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report published on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “Lowe’s shares have slid and underperformed the industry in the past six months. In fact, the stock came under pressure after it posted lower-than-expected second-quarter fiscal 2017 results. This was the second quarter in row wherein both the top and bottom lines fell short of the estimate. Nevertheless, both sales and earnings grew year over year, albeit at a rate lower than the preceding quarter. However, comps showed considerable improvement. We believe Lowe’s buyout of Maintenance Supply Headquarters will help strengthen relationship with pro customers. Further, improving job scenario, housing market recovery, merchandising initiatives and post hurricane construction activities along with efforts to enhance omni-channel capabilities bode well. Management expects sales to increase 5% with comps growth of 3.5% during fiscal 2017 but took a conservative stance when it comes to earnings per share and operating margin guidance.”

A number of other analysts have also recently commented on the company. Bank of America Corporation started coverage on Lowe’s Companies in a research report on Tuesday, September 5th. They set a buy rating and a $95.00 target price on the stock. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. set a $100.00 target price on Lowe’s Companies and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 24th. Stifel Nicolaus reiterated a buy rating and set a $87.00 target price on shares of Lowe’s Companies in a research report on Friday, July 21st. Jefferies Group LLC restated a hold rating and issued a $89.00 price target on shares of Lowe’s Companies in a research report on Friday, July 21st. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG dropped their price target on Lowe’s Companies from $92.00 to $85.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a research report on Thursday, August 24th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and fourteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $85.00.

Shares of Lowe’s Companies (NYSE LOW) opened at 78.23 on Thursday. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $76.25 and its 200 day moving average price is $79.59. Lowe’s Companies has a 1-year low of $64.87 and a 1-year high of $86.25. The stock has a market cap of $65.15 billion, a P/E ratio of 22.21 and a beta of 1.07.

Lowe’s Companies (NYSE:LOW) last posted 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). Lowe’s Companies had a return on equity of 62.02% and a net margin of 4.51%. The firm had revenue of $19.50 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $19.58 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.37 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.8% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts expect that Lowe’s Companies will post $4.50 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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

In related news, insider Paul D. Ramsay sold 2,098 shares of Lowe’s Companies stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $78.02, for a total transaction of $163,685.96. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 8,400 shares in the company, valued at approximately $655,368. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in shares of Lowe’s Companies by 1.4% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 64,769,014 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $5,021,542,000 after purchasing an additional 897,911 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in shares of Lowe’s Companies by 1,757.3% during the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 61,377,883 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $5,045,875,000 after purchasing an additional 58,073,138 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC raised its position in shares of Lowe’s Companies by 62.6% during the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 9,694,439 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $751,610,000 after purchasing an additional 3,732,153 shares during the last quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. raised its position in shares of Lowe’s Companies by 0.7% during the 2nd quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 9,281,474 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $719,560,000 after purchasing an additional 64,780 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC raised its position in shares of Lowe’s Companies by 8.2% during the 1st quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 8,848,938 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $726,481,000 after purchasing an additional 671,581 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 74.20% of the company’s stock.

Lowe’s Companies Company Profile

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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Analyst Recommendations for Lowe`s Companies (NYSE:LOW)

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