Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Big Lots, Inc. (NYSE:BIG) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Big Lots have outperformed the industry in the past six months. The company's strategic endeavors, recent uptrend in the gross margin and positive earnings surprise streak in the last six quarters, all indicate that stock might do well in the near term. In the first-quarter fiscal 2017, the company not only reported robust earnings but also surpassed the guidance range provided previously. Moreover, following better-than-expected first-quarter earnings the company raised fiscal 2017 guidance and now expects adjusted earnings in the $4.05–$4.20, up from the earlier guidance of $3.95–$4.10. While the company’s dismal top-line performance in the trailing four quarters has been a cause of worry, its furniture financing programs has been consistently gaining traction. Further, the challenging retail landscape, aggressive promotional strategies and waning store traffic might weigh on the performance.”

Several other brokerages have also issued reports on BIG. Citigroup Inc. reiterated a buy rating and issued a $62.00 price target (up previously from $61.00) on shares of Big Lots in a report on Friday, June 9th. BidaskClub lowered Big Lots from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Thursday, June 22nd. ValuEngine lowered Big Lots from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Friday, June 2nd. Raymond James Financial, Inc. upgraded Big Lots from a market perform rating to a strong-buy rating and set a $60.00 price target on the stock in a report on Wednesday, April 26th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG upgraded Big Lots from a hold rating to a buy rating and increased their price target for the stock from $55.00 to $56.00 in a report on Tuesday, July 25th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating, eight have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $58.00.

Shares of Big Lots (BIG) opened at 50.43 on Thursday. The firm has a market cap of $2.23 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.69 and a beta of 0.85. Big Lots has a 12 month low of $42.40 and a 12 month high of $56.54. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $48.21 and a 200-day moving average price of $49.34.

Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, May 26th. The company reported $1.15 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.99 by $0.16. The business had revenue of $1.30 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.31 billion. Big Lots had a return on equity of 29.88% and a net margin of 3.20%. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 1.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.82 earnings per share. Analysts forecast that Big Lots will post $4.20 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In other news, CEO David J. Campisi sold 28,875 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.04, for a total value of $1,444,905.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 225,018 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $11,259,900.72. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 1.60% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in shares of Big Lots by 3,846.5% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 6,101,011 shares of the company’s stock valued at $296,996,000 after buying an additional 5,946,417 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Big Lots by 7.2% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 5,474,133 shares of the company’s stock valued at $266,480,000 after buying an additional 368,464 shares during the period. Wells Fargo & Company MN increased its stake in shares of Big Lots by 10.7% in the first quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 2,187,917 shares of the company’s stock valued at $106,508,000 after buying an additional 211,842 shares during the period. State Street Corp increased its stake in shares of Big Lots by 0.8% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 1,611,995 shares of the company’s stock valued at $78,474,000 after buying an additional 12,308 shares during the period. Finally, Sasco Capital Inc. CT increased its stake in shares of Big Lots by 0.5% in the second quarter. Sasco Capital Inc. CT now owns 1,542,300 shares of the company’s stock valued at $74,493,000 after buying an additional 7,840 shares during the period.

About Big Lots

Big Lots, Inc is a non-traditional, discount retailer operating in the United States. As of January 28, 2017, the Company operated a total of 1,432 stores. The Company operates through the discount retailing segment. As of January 28, 2017, the Company’s stores are located at various states of the United States, such as Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington.

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