Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note released on Thursday morning. The firm currently has $108.00 price target on the apparel retailer’s stock.
According to Zacks, “Ross Stores surpassed the industry in the past year given positive record of earnings and sales surprises in the trailing nine quarters. In second-quarter fiscal 2018, both the top and bottom lines beat estimates and improved year over year. Earnings gained from ongoing success in delivering broad assortments of compelling bargains to value-focused customers. Moreover, the company’s commitment toward better price management, merchandise initiatives, cost containment and store expansion plan bodes well. Based on the first-half results and the second-half view, the company raised earnings outlook for fiscal 2018. However, Ross Stores continues to grapple with higher freight costs and wage-related investments, which is hurting operating margins lately. The company expects these headwinds along with slight deleverage in occupancy and other expenses to result in soft operating margin for the fiscal third quarter.”
Several other analysts have also recently weighed in on ROST. Loop Capital boosted their price objective on shares of Ross Stores from $88.00 to $95.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 27th. Wedbush assumed coverage on shares of Ross Stores in a research note on Friday, June 22nd. They issued a neutral rating and a $90.00 price objective on the stock. BidaskClub cut shares of Ross Stores from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, July 12th. Guggenheim reissued a buy rating and issued a $100.00 price objective on shares of Ross Stores in a research note on Wednesday, July 25th. Finally, Susquehanna Bancshares reissued a positive rating on shares of Ross Stores in a research note on Thursday, June 7th. Twelve investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eighteen have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $96.04.
Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 23rd. The apparel retailer reported $1.04 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.01 by $0.03. Ross Stores had a net margin of 10.41% and a return on equity of 47.56%. The company had revenue of $3.74 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.66 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.82 earnings per share. Ross Stores’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.9% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, sell-side analysts predict that Ross Stores will post 4.12 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 28th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 13th were given a dividend of $0.225 per share. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, September 12th. This represents a $0.90 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.95%. Ross Stores’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 26.95%.
In other Ross Stores news, Director Norman A. Ferber sold 10,144 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $94.90, for a total transaction of $962,665.60. Following the sale, the director now owns 25,127 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,384,552.30. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 2.40% of the company’s stock.
A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Visionary Asset Management Inc. bought a new stake in Ross Stores during the third quarter valued at $266,000. Fox Run Management L.L.C. bought a new stake in Ross Stores during the third quarter valued at $225,000. CENTRAL TRUST Co boosted its position in shares of Ross Stores by 7.8% during the 3rd quarter. CENTRAL TRUST Co now owns 9,566 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock worth $948,000 after purchasing an additional 691 shares in the last quarter. United Services Automobile Association boosted its position in shares of Ross Stores by 7.7% during the 2nd quarter. United Services Automobile Association now owns 563,441 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock worth $47,752,000 after purchasing an additional 40,153 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Royal London Asset Management Ltd. bought a new position in shares of Ross Stores during the 2nd quarter worth about $13,153,000. 88.24% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
About Ross Stores
Ross Stores, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, operates off-price retail apparel and home fashion stores under the Ross Dress for Less and dd's DISCOUNTS brands in the United States. It primarily offers apparel, accessories, footwear, and home fashions. The company's Ross Dress for Less stores sell its products at department and specialty stores primarily to middle income households; and dd's DISCOUNTS stores sell its products at department and discount stores regular prices to customers from households with moderate income.
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