Ross Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST) was the target of a significant decrease in short interest during the month of October. As of October 13th, there was short interest totalling 13,223,514 shares, a decrease of 12.9% from the September 29th total of 15,183,468 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 2,403,359 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 5.5 days. Approximately 3.5% of the company’s shares are sold short.

Ross Stores (NASDAQ ROST) opened at 64.27 on Friday. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $62.82 and a 200 day moving average price of $60.40. The company has a market cap of $24.78 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.23 and a beta of 1.14. Ross Stores has a 12 month low of $52.85 and a 12 month high of $69.81.

Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) last released its earnings results on Thursday, August 17th. The apparel retailer reported $0.82 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.77 by $0.05. Ross Stores had a return on equity of 42.95% and a net margin of 8.87%. The firm had revenue of $3.43 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.37 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.71 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 7.9% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts expect that Ross Stores will post $3.23 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 29th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 7th were paid a dividend of $0.16 per share. This represents a $0.64 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.00%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, September 6th. Ross Stores’s payout ratio is presently 21.12%.

ROST has been the subject of several research analyst reports. BMO Capital Markets set a $65.00 price objective on Ross Stores and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 6th. Zacks Investment Research raised Ross Stores from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $61.00 price target for the company in a research note on Wednesday, July 12th. Telsey Advisory Group raised Ross Stores from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $70.00 price target for the company in a research note on Friday, July 14th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. BidaskClub raised Ross Stores from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Finally, Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and set a $64.00 price target (down from $70.00) on shares of Ross Stores in a research note on Wednesday, August 2nd. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $70.21.

In related news, CEO Barbara Rentler sold 15,492 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.00, for a total value of $945,012.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider Brian R. Morrow sold 6,157 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, October 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.30, for a total value of $402,052.10. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 2.30% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Herndon Capital Management LLC lifted its stake in Ross Stores by 85.6% during the second quarter. Herndon Capital Management LLC now owns 202,917 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock worth $11,715,000 after purchasing an additional 93,559 shares during the last quarter. PGGM Investments lifted its stake in Ross Stores by 47.8% during the third quarter. PGGM Investments now owns 720,055 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock worth $46,494,000 after purchasing an additional 232,899 shares during the last quarter. Mechanics Bank Trust Department lifted its stake in Ross Stores by 0.5% during the second quarter. Mechanics Bank Trust Department now owns 65,450 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock worth $3,778,000 after purchasing an additional 315 shares during the last quarter. Swiss National Bank lifted its stake in Ross Stores by 2.3% during the second quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 1,667,592 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock worth $96,270,000 after purchasing an additional 36,700 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Marshall Wace North America L.P. lifted its stake in Ross Stores by 21.9% during the second quarter. Marshall Wace North America L.P. now owns 1,463,322 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock worth $84,873,000 after purchasing an additional 262,946 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 90.38% of the company’s stock.

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About Ross Stores

Ross Stores, Inc and its subsidiaries operate two brands of off-price retail apparel and home fashion stores-Ross Dress for Less (Ross) and dd’s DISCOUNTS. The Company is the off-price apparel and home fashion chain in the United States, with 1,340 locations in 36 states, the District of Columbia and Guam, as of January 28, 2017.

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