Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) saw some unusual options trading on Friday. Stock traders purchased 32,281 call options on the company. This represents an increase of 121% compared to the typical daily volume of 14,606 call options.

A number of equities analysts have weighed in on the company. BMO Capital Markets restated a “buy” rating and issued a $89.00 target price on shares of Lowe’s Companies in a research note on Friday, May 5th. Vetr lowered Lowe’s Companies from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $83.11 target price on the stock. in a research note on Monday, May 8th. Credit Suisse Group set a $94.00 target price on Lowe’s Companies and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, May 2nd. Zacks Investment Research lowered Lowe’s Companies from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 3rd. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC upped their target price on Lowe’s Companies from $80.00 to $94.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, May 12th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the company. Lowe’s Companies has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $85.62.

In other Lowe’s Companies news, insider Richard D. Maltsbarger sold 11,672 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.20, for a total value of $936,094.40. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 37,716 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,024,823.20. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, COO Ricky D. Damron sold 17,152 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, April 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $81.96, for a total value of $1,405,777.92. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief operating officer now owns 78,225 shares in the company, valued at $6,411,321. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 41,524 shares of company stock worth $3,385,050. 0.11% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in LOW. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in shares of Lowe’s Companies by 1,757.3% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 61,377,883 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock valued at $5,045,875,000 after buying an additional 58,073,138 shares during the period. Norges Bank acquired a new position in shares of Lowe’s Companies during the fourth quarter valued at about $556,574,000. Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC acquired a new position in shares of Lowe’s Companies during the fourth quarter valued at about $526,087,000. OppenheimerFunds Inc. raised its position in shares of Lowe’s Companies by 204.0% in the first quarter. OppenheimerFunds Inc. now owns 8,018,171 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock valued at $659,174,000 after buying an additional 5,380,759 shares during the period. Finally, Glenview Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Lowe’s Companies during the fourth quarter valued at about $289,894,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.30% of the company’s stock.

Lowe’s Companies (NYSE LOW) opened at 80.46 on Wednesday. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $82.09 and its 200-day moving average price is $78.46. The company has a market cap of $67.93 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 25.23 and a beta of 1.08. Lowe’s Companies has a 52-week low of $64.87 and a 52-week high of $86.25.

Lowe’s Companies (NYSE:LOW) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, May 24th. The home improvement retailer reported $1.03 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.06 by $0.03. Lowe’s Companies had a net margin of 4.22% and a return on equity of 56.78%. The business had revenue of $16.86 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $16.99 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.87 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 10.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Lowe’s Companies will post $4.62 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, August 9th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, July 26th will be given a dividend of $0.41 per share. This represents a $1.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.04%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, July 24th. This is a positive change from Lowe’s Companies’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.35. Lowe’s Companies’s payout ratio is 44.03%.

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About Lowe’s Companies

Lowe’s Companies, Inc (Lowe’s) is a home improvement retailer. The Company operates approximately 1,860 home improvement and hardware stores, representing approximately 200 million square feet of retail selling space. The Company operates approximately 1,800 stores located across over 50 states in the United States, including approximately 80 Orchard Supply Hardware (Orchard) stores in California and Oregon, as well as approximately 40 stores in Canada and over 10 stores in Mexico.

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