Rent-A-Center Inc. (NASDAQ:RCII) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a note issued to investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Rent-A-Center disappointed investors with its bleak preliminary guidance for third-quarter 2016. The company now expects Core U.S. same store sales to be down nearly 12% in the quarter while Acceptance Now same store sales is estimated to be flat. Core U.S. gross profit is likely to be flat year over year. The company anticipates earnings per share both on the GAAP and non-GAAP basis to be in the range of $0.05 to $0.15 per share. The technical snags and outages after the execution of new point-of-sale system negatively impacted Core sales and compelled management to hold a conservative view. Moreover, Rent-A-Center has been disappointing investors with its top-line performance for the past four consecutive quarters. Accelerated point of sale system rollout, persistent sluggishness across the computers and tablets categories, headwinds across the oil-impacted markets and continued smartphones recast impacted the results.”

Separately, Jefferies Group assumed coverage on shares of Rent-A-Center in a report on Thursday. They issued a “hold” rating on the stock. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating, three have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. Rent-A-Center currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $22.72.

Analyst Recommendations for Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ:RCII)

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Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ:RCII) opened at 9.55 on Thursday. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $12.38 and a 200-day moving average of $13.00. The company’s market capitalization is $507.26 million. Rent-A-Center has a 52 week low of $8.00 and a 52 week high of $26.26.

Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ:RCII) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 27th. The company reported $0.41 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.49 by $0.08. Rent-A-Center had a negative net margin of 27.93% and a positive return on equity of 14.03%. The company earned $749.60 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $782.12 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.50 earnings per share. Rent-A-Center’s revenue for the quarter was down 8.1% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts forecast that Rent-A-Center will post $1.73 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, October 20th. Investors of record on Monday, October 3rd will be issued a $0.08 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 29th. This represents a $0.32 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.35%. Rent-A-Center’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently -1.93%.

In other Rent-A-Center news, CEO Robert Dale Davis acquired 10,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 1st. The stock was acquired at an average price of $10.87 per share, for a total transaction of $108,700.00. Following the acquisition, the chief executive officer now directly owns 131,850 shares in the company, valued at $1,433,209.50. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. 3.40% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. A.R.T. Advisors LLC raised its position in shares of Rent-A-Center by 519.9% in the first quarter. A.R.T. Advisors LLC now owns 286,762 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,545,000 after buying an additional 240,500 shares during the period. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Rent-A-Center by 18.2% in the first quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 246,098 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,901,000 after buying an additional 37,940 shares during the period. Pinnacle Holdings LLC raised its position in shares of Rent-A-Center by 4.4% in the first quarter. Pinnacle Holdings LLC now owns 36,845 shares of the company’s stock worth $584,000 after buying an additional 1,550 shares during the period. Renaissance Technologies LLC raised its position in shares of Rent-A-Center by 87.5% in the first quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 808,210 shares of the company’s stock worth $12,810,000 after buying an additional 377,200 shares during the period. Finally, Hancock Holding Co. acquired a new position in shares of Rent-A-Center during the first quarter worth about $761,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 9.58% of the company’s stock.

Rent-A-Center Company Profile

Rent-A-Center, Inc is a rent-to-own operator in North America. The Company provides an opportunity to obtain ownership of products, such as consumer electronics, appliances, computers (including tablets), smartphones and furniture (including accessories), under rental purchase agreements. The Company operates in four segments: Core U.S., Acceptance Now, Mexico and Franchising.

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