Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Rent-A-Center Inc. (NASDAQ:RCII) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Rent-A-Center have underperformed the industry so far in the year. This is quite evident as investors remain concerned about the company’s waning top and bottom lines. In the second quarter of 2017, this rent-to-own operator posted a loss of $0.01 per share that missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and also fell substantially from the year-ago period. Total revenue also slid year over year but managed to beat the respective estimate, after missing the same in the trailing seven quarters. Comps also fell but improved sequentially. Nevertheless, the company is concentrating on a new labor model, supply chain initiative and productivity enhancements. These endeavors are directed toward improving the performance of Core U.S. segment, optimizing the AcceptanceNOW business and enhancing distribution channels as well as integrating retail and online offerings. The company is also rationalizing its store base and lowering its debt load.”

Several other research firms have also commented on RCII. Stifel Nicolaus reiterated a hold rating and issued a $13.00 price objective (up previously from $11.50) on shares of Rent-A-Center in a research note on Friday. Loop Capital lowered shares of Rent-A-Center from a hold rating to a sell rating and set a $8.00 price objective for the company. in a research note on Wednesday, June 7th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Rent-A-Center from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Sunday, July 16th. Jefferies Group LLC decreased their price objective on shares of Rent-A-Center from $12.00 to $9.00 and set a hold rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, May 3rd. Finally, Raymond James Financial, Inc. upgraded shares of Rent-A-Center from a market perform rating to a strong-buy rating and set a $15.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Wednesday, April 12th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating, three have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $11.00.

Shares of Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ:RCII) traded up 3.25% during trading on Friday, reaching $13.65. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 426,446 shares. The firm’s market cap is $727.42 million. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $12.08 and its 200-day moving average price is $10.46. Rent-A-Center has a 12 month low of $7.76 and a 12 month high of $13.67.

Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ:RCII) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 26th. The company reported ($0.01) EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.07 by $0.08. The firm had revenue of $667.64 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $667.04 million. Rent-A-Center had a negative net margin of 5.57% and a negative return on equity of 43.47%. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 10.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.41 EPS. Equities analysts predict that Rent-A-Center will post $0.25 EPS for the current year.

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The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, July 20th. Stockholders of record on Monday, July 3rd were paid a dividend of $0.08 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, June 29th. This represents a $0.32 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.42%.

In related news, Chairman Mark E. Speese purchased 100,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 10th. The stock was bought at an average price of $11.70 per share, for a total transaction of $1,170,000.00. Following the purchase, the chairman now directly owns 844,627 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,882,135.90. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Steven L. Pepper purchased 45,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 23rd. The shares were bought at an average price of $10.93 per share, with a total value of $491,850.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Company insiders own 3.40% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. United Capital Financial Advisers LLC raised its stake in shares of Rent-A-Center by 21.1% in the first quarter. United Capital Financial Advisers LLC now owns 372,081 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,300,000 after buying an additional 64,923 shares during the last quarter. Blackstone Group L.P. bought a new stake in shares of Rent-A-Center during the first quarter valued at about $10,560,000. Comerica Bank raised its stake in shares of Rent-A-Center by 5.4% in the fourth quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 56,417 shares of the company’s stock valued at $586,000 after buying an additional 2,898 shares during the last quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. bought a new stake in shares of Rent-A-Center during the fourth quarter valued at about $654,000. Finally, Engaged Capital LLC raised its stake in shares of Rent-A-Center by 290.2% in the first quarter. Engaged Capital LLC now owns 8,983,609 shares of the company’s stock valued at $79,685,000 after buying an additional 6,681,233 shares during the last quarter.

About Rent-A-Center

Rent-A-Center, Inc is a rent-to-own operator in North America. The Company provides an opportunity to obtain ownership of products, such as consumer electronics, appliances, computers (including tablets), smartphones and furniture (including accessories), under rental purchase agreements. The Company operates in four segments: Core U.S., Acceptance Now, Mexico, and Franchising.

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Analyst Recommendations for Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ:RCII)

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