Ascena Retail Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASNA) was the target of a significant decrease in short interest in August. As of August 31st, there was short interest totalling 42,210,335 shares, a decrease of 4.3% from the August 15th total of 44,123,527 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 1,689,712 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 25.0 days. Currently, 27.5% of the company’s stock are sold short.

A number of equities analysts have recently issued reports on the company. Royal Bank Of Canada set a $5.00 price target on Ascena Retail Group and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, June 12th. BidaskClub raised Ascena Retail Group from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, July 31st. Cowen and Company reaffirmed a “market perform” rating and set a $2.00 price target (down from $6.00) on shares of Ascena Retail Group in a research report on Sunday, June 11th. FBR & Co set a $3.00 price target on Ascena Retail Group and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, August 15th. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded Ascena Retail Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, June 2nd. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and nine have given a hold rating to the stock. Ascena Retail Group has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $3.83.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company lifted its position in Ascena Retail Group by 5.5% in the second quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 143,707 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $309,000 after acquiring an additional 7,435 shares during the last quarter. BlueCrest Capital Management Ltd lifted its position in Ascena Retail Group by 170.6% in the second quarter. BlueCrest Capital Management Ltd now owns 98,515 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $212,000 after acquiring an additional 62,110 shares during the last quarter. HighTower Advisors LLC lifted its position in Ascena Retail Group by 90.8% in the second quarter. HighTower Advisors LLC now owns 607,614 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $1,307,000 after acquiring an additional 289,190 shares during the last quarter. Voya Investment Management LLC lifted its position in Ascena Retail Group by 140.5% in the second quarter. Voya Investment Management LLC now owns 172,852 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $372,000 after acquiring an additional 100,968 shares during the last quarter. Finally, OxFORD Asset Management LLP lifted its position in Ascena Retail Group by 117.2% in the second quarter. OxFORD Asset Management LLP now owns 1,182,120 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $2,542,000 after acquiring an additional 637,840 shares during the last quarter. 95.71% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Ascena Retail Group (NASDAQ ASNA) opened at 2.07 on Friday. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $2.15 and a 200 day moving average price of $2.85. Ascena Retail Group has a 52-week low of $1.65 and a 52-week high of $8.34. The firm’s market capitalization is $397.23 million.

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About Ascena Retail Group

Ascena Retail Group, Inc is a specialty retailer of apparel for women and tween girls. The Company operates through six segments: ANN, Justice, Lane Bryant, maurices, dressbarn and Catherines. The ANN segment offers feminine classics and fashion choices, sold primarily under the Ann Taylor and LOFT brands.

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