Big Lots (BIG) Raised to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday morning, Zacks.com reports. They currently have $33.00 price objective on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Although shares of Big Lots have lagged the industry in the past three months, it is likely to witness an above-average performance in the near term. The company’s Store of the Future initiative and the e-commerce business bode well. Moreover, it has delivered better-than-expected earnings in fourth-quarter fiscal 2018. The metric also increased year over year. Further, the company revealed its plans to launch a three-year cost reduction program, which focuses on organization size and structure, store payroll, indirect costs, supply chain and cost of goods sold. Also, Big Lots is committed to boost shareholder value through dividends and share buybacks. However, the company’s top line missed the consensus mark and declined year over year on reduced store count. Also, the company is grappling with higher costs that are weighing on margins. Further, management issued a soft view for fiscal 2019. Stiff competition is an added concern.”

A number of other equities analysts have also recently commented on BIG. Deutsche Bank cut shares of Big Lots from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, February 28th. Bank of America lifted their target price on shares of Big Lots from $40.00 to $45.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Monday, March 11th. Raymond James lifted their target price on shares of Big Lots from $36.00 to $40.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a report on Monday, March 11th. Morgan Stanley lifted their target price on shares of Big Lots from $33.00 to $36.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a report on Monday, March 11th. Finally, ValuEngine raised shares of Big Lots from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a report on Monday, March 25th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $38.31.

Shares of Big Lots stock opened at $28.95 on Friday. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.16 billion, a PE ratio of 7.17, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.14 and a beta of 1.27. Big Lots has a 12 month low of $26.21 and a 12 month high of $50.35. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.75, a quick ratio of 0.25 and a current ratio of 1.77.

Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) last announced its earnings results on Friday, March 8th. The company reported $2.68 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.30 by $0.38. The business had revenue of $1.60 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.60 billion. Big Lots had a net margin of 3.00% and a return on equity of 25.67%. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 2.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $2.57 EPS. As a group, equities research analysts expect that Big Lots will post 3.67 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Big Lots declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock repurchase plan on Friday, March 8th that permits the company to repurchase $50.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to repurchase up to 3.6% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are often a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

In other Big Lots news, EVP Michael Allen Schlonsky sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, April 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $38.99, for a total value of $194,950.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 67,296 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,623,871.04. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Stephen M. Haffer sold 1,646 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, March 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $35.57, for a total transaction of $58,548.22. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 7,432 shares in the company, valued at $264,356.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 11,380 shares of company stock worth $434,290 over the last three months. 1.10% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Bank of Montreal Can increased its position in Big Lots by 123.8% in the fourth quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 36,088 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,044,000 after buying an additional 19,965 shares during the period. BB&T Corp boosted its holdings in shares of Big Lots by 53.5% in the 4th quarter. BB&T Corp now owns 34,172 shares of the company’s stock valued at $988,000 after purchasing an additional 11,907 shares in the last quarter. Assenagon Asset Management S.A. acquired a new stake in shares of Big Lots in the 4th quarter valued at $1,024,000. First National Bank of Omaha boosted its holdings in shares of Big Lots by 545.6% in the 4th quarter. First National Bank of Omaha now owns 44,565 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,289,000 after purchasing an additional 37,662 shares in the last quarter. Finally, We Are One Seven LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Big Lots in the 4th quarter valued at $71,000.

About Big Lots

Big Lots, Inc, through its subsidiaries, operates as a retailer in the United States. The company offers products under various merchandising categories, such as furniture category that includes upholstery, mattress, case goods, and ready-to-assemble departments; seasonal category, which comprises Christmas trim, lawn and garden, summer, and other holiday departments; soft home category that consists of fashion and utility bedding, bath, window, decorative textile, home organization, area rugs, home d├ęcor, and frames departments; and food category that includes beverage and grocery, candy and snacks, and specialty foods departments.

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