Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) was the recipient of some unusual options trading activity on Monday. Stock traders acquired 6,466 put options on the stock. This is an increase of 538% compared to the typical volume of 1,014 put options.

Several analysts recently issued reports on the stock. BidaskClub lowered shares of Lowe’s Companies from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research report on Monday. Stifel Nicolaus restated a “buy” rating and set a $87.00 target price on shares of Lowe’s Companies in a research report on Friday, July 21st. Jefferies Group LLC restated a “hold” rating and set a $89.00 target price on shares of Lowe’s Companies in a research report on Friday, July 21st. BMO Capital Markets restated a “buy” rating and set a $89.00 target price on shares of Lowe’s Companies in a research report on Thursday, July 20th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Lowe’s Companies from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, July 17th. Four investment 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. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $85.39.

In other news, insider Richard D. Maltsbarger sold 11,672 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $80.20, for a total transaction of $936,094.40. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 37,716 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,024,823.20. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 0.11% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Valicenti Advisory Services Inc. increased its position in shares of Lowe’s Companies by 5.1% in the first quarter. Valicenti Advisory Services Inc. now owns 53,675 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $4,413,000 after buying an additional 2,625 shares in the last quarter. Norman Fields Gottscho Capital Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Lowe’s Companies during the first quarter worth approximately $765,000. CMH Wealth Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Lowe’s Companies during the fourth quarter worth approximately $1,419,000. Boltwood Capital Management increased its position in shares of Lowe’s Companies by 4.9% in the first quarter. Boltwood Capital Management now owns 32,140 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $2,642,000 after buying an additional 1,500 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Tufton Capital Management bought a new position in shares of Lowe’s Companies during the first quarter worth approximately $423,000. 74.73% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Lowe’s Companies (NYSE LOW) opened at 75.98 on Thursday. Lowe’s Companies has a one year low of $64.87 and a one year high of $86.25. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $77.49 and its 200 day moving average is $79.00. The company has a market capitalization of $64.14 billion, a PE ratio of 23.83 and a beta of 1.08.

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

The firm also recently declared 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. The ex-dividend date is Monday, July 24th. This is a positive change from Lowe’s Companies’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.35. This represents a $1.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.16%. Lowe’s Companies’s dividend payout ratio is 51.57%.

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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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