Big Lots, Inc. (NYSE:BIG) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Big Lots have underperformed the Zacks categorized industry in the past three months. However, the company's strategic endeavors, recent uptrend in the gross margin and positive earnings surprise streak in the last five quarters, all indicate that stock might bounce back in the near term. In the reported quarter, the company not only reported robust earnings but also surpassed the guidance range provided previously. For fiscal 2017, adjusted earnings per share are projected in the band of $3.95–$4.10, representing year-over-year growth of 9–13%. While the company’s dismal top-line performance in the trailing three quarters has been a cause of worry, its furniture financing programs has been consistently gaining traction. However, the challenging retail landscape, aggressive promotional strategies and waning store traffic might weigh on the company’s performance.”

Several other analysts also recently weighed in on BIG. Griffin Securities restated a “buy” rating on shares of Big Lots in a research report on Friday, March 3rd. Loop Capital reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $64.00 target price on shares of Big Lots in a report on Monday, March 6th. Susquehanna Bancshares Inc started coverage on Big Lots in a report on Friday, February 10th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $55.00 target price for the company. Finally, Raymond James Financial, Inc. raised Big Lots from a “market perform” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $60.00 target price for the company in a report on Wednesday, April 26th. Seven analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, six have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $55.83.

Analyst Recommendations for Big Lots (NYSE:BIG)

Shares of Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) traded up 2.22% during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $47.50. The stock had a trading volume of 832,008 shares. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $48.79 and its 200 day moving average price is $50.22. The company has a market capitalization of $2.13 billion, a P/E ratio of 14.30 and a beta of 0.89. Big Lots has a 1-year low of $41.61 and a 1-year high of $56.54.

Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Friday, March 3rd. The company reported $2.26 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $2.22 by $0.04. Big Lots had a return on equity of 27.08% and a net margin of 3.02%. The business had revenue of $1.58 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.59 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $2.00 EPS. Big Lots’s revenue for the quarter was down .3% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts predict that Big Lots will post $4.06 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, insider Michael Allen Schlonsky sold 8,902 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, March 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $48.70, for a total transaction of $433,527.40. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 54,207 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,639,880.90. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Lisa M. Bachmann sold 9,538 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, April 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $51.09, for a total value of $487,296.42. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 45,920 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,346,052.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 38,846 shares of company stock valued at $1,947,301 in the last ninety days. 1.60% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Huntington National Bank boosted its stake in Big Lots by 88.9% in the first quarter. Huntington National Bank now owns 2,065 shares of the company’s stock valued at $101,000 after buying an additional 972 shares in the last quarter. Advisors Preferred LLC acquired a new stake in Big Lots during the first quarter valued at approximately $101,000. Neuburgh Advisers LLC boosted its stake in Big Lots by 14.3% in the first quarter. Neuburgh Advisers LLC now owns 2,112 shares of the company’s stock valued at $103,000 after buying an additional 264 shares in the last quarter. Credit Agricole S A acquired a new stake in Big Lots during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $117,000. Finally, Tyers Asset Management LLC acquired a new stake in Big Lots during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $118,000.

Big Lots Company Profile

Big Lots, Inc is a non-traditional, discount retailer operating in the United States. As of January 28, 2017, the Company operated a total of 1,432 stores. The Company operates through the discount retailing segment. As of January 28, 2017, the Company’s stores are located at various states of the United States, such as Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington.

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