Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) was the recipient of some unusual options trading activity on Thursday. Investors acquired 86,338 call options on the company. This is an increase of 661% compared to the typical volume of 11,338 call options.

In related news, insider Richard D. Maltsbarger sold 11,672 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, May 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $80.20, for a total value of $936,094.40. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 37,716 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,024,823.20. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. 0.11% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. boosted its position in Lowe’s Companies by 0.4% in the first quarter. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. now owns 1,236 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock valued at $101,000 after buying an additional 5 shares during the last quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America boosted its position in Lowe’s Companies by 0.4% in the first quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America now owns 3,346 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock valued at $275,000 after buying an additional 13 shares during the last quarter. Winfield Associates Inc. boosted its position in Lowe’s Companies by 0.6% in the first quarter. Winfield Associates Inc. now owns 2,392 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock valued at $196,000 after buying an additional 15 shares during the last quarter. Modera Wealth Management LLC boosted its position in Lowe’s Companies by 0.3% in the first quarter. Modera Wealth Management LLC now owns 4,927 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock valued at $405,000 after buying an additional 15 shares during the last quarter. Finally, First Personal Financial Services boosted its position in Lowe’s Companies by 0.3% in the first quarter. First Personal Financial Services now owns 8,067 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock valued at $663,000 after buying an additional 21 shares during the last quarter. 74.54% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Lowe’s Companies (NYSE LOW) opened at 73.84 on Friday. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $77.85 and its 200 day moving average is $78.90. The firm has a market capitalization of $62.34 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.15 and a beta of 1.08. Lowe’s Companies has a 12 month low of $64.87 and a 12 month high of $86.25.

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

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, August 9th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, July 26th will be paid a dividend of $0.41 per share. This is a boost from Lowe’s Companies’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.35. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, July 24th. This represents a $1.64 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.22%. Lowe’s Companies’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 44.03%.

A number of equities research analysts recently weighed in on the stock. Stifel Nicolaus reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $87.00 price target on shares of Lowe’s Companies in a research report on Friday. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $89.00 price target on shares of Lowe’s Companies in a research report on Friday. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $89.00 price target on shares of Lowe’s Companies in a research report on Thursday. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Lowe’s Companies from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, July 17th. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein reissued an “underperform” rating and issued a $69.00 price target on shares of Lowe’s Companies in a research report on Wednesday, July 12th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and fifteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Lowe’s Companies presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $85.39.

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Lowe’s Companies Company Profile

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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