Fred’s, Inc. (NASDAQ:FRED) saw a significant growth in short interest in the month of July. As of July 14th, there was short interest totalling 20,180,222 shares, a growth of 30.2% from the June 30th total of 15,500,069 shares. Currently, 56.7% of the company’s shares are sold short. Based on an average trading volume of 3,691,456 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 5.5 days.

A number of equities analysts have issued reports on FRED shares. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Fred’s from a “hold” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, April 4th. Deutsche Bank AG reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $17.00 price objective (down previously from $19.00) on shares of Fred’s in a report on Saturday, June 3rd. TheStreet downgraded Fred’s from a “c-” rating to a “d” rating in a report on Monday, July 3rd. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded Fred’s from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Friday, June 2nd. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Fred’s has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $14.25.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. State Street Corp boosted its stake in shares of Fred’s by 32.8% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 1,126,791 shares of the company’s stock valued at $14,761,000 after buying an additional 278,250 shares in the last quarter. Highbridge Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Fred’s by 485.6% in the first quarter. Highbridge Capital Management LLC now owns 292,781 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,836,000 after buying an additional 242,781 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Fred’s by 5.5% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 3,254,230 shares of the company’s stock valued at $42,630,000 after buying an additional 170,717 shares in the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN boosted its stake in shares of Fred’s by 24.2% in the first quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 776,513 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,172,000 after buying an additional 151,144 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Teachers Advisors LLC boosted its stake in shares of Fred’s by 195.1% in the first quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 163,380 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,140,000 after buying an additional 108,011 shares in the last quarter.

Fred’s (NASDAQ:FRED) opened at 6.38 on Thursday. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $8.81 and a 200-day moving average price of $13.43. Fred’s has a 12-month low of $6.17 and a 12-month high of $21.77. The company’s market cap is $242.77 million.

Fred’s (NASDAQ:FRED) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, June 6th. The company reported ($0.06) earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.03) by $0.03. Fred’s had a negative return on equity of 3.93% and a negative net margin of 4.94%. The firm had revenue of $532.32 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $520.28 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.03 earnings per share. Fred’s’s quarterly revenue was down 3.1% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Fred’s will post ($0.40) earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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About Fred’s

Fred’s, Inc (Fred’s) is engaged in the sale of general merchandise through its retail discount stores and full service pharmacies. The Company sells general merchandise to its over 20 franchisees. The Company has approximately 660 retail stores, over 370 pharmacies, and approximately three specialty pharmacy facilities located in over 15 states mainly in the Southeastern United States.

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