Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) was the target of a significant growth in short interest in the month of July. As of July 31st, there was short interest totalling 17,124,475 shares, a growth of 17.6% from the July 14th total of 14,566,334 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 8,111,108 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 2.1 days. Approximately 2.6% of the company’s shares are sold short.

A number of research firms recently weighed in on SPLS. Jefferies Group LLC restated a “hold” rating and issued a $9.00 price objective on shares of Staples in a report on Wednesday. BidaskClub upgraded Staples from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Saturday, August 5th. Loop Capital restated a “hold” rating and issued a $5.00 price objective on shares of Staples in a report on Friday, May 19th. Telsey Advisory Group increased their price target on Staples from $9.00 to $10.25 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a report on Thursday, June 29th. Finally, Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Staples in a report on Tuesday, May 16th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $9.18.

Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) opened at 10.17 on Friday. The company’s market cap is $6.64 billion. Staples has a 52-week low of $7.24 and a 52-week high of $10.25. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $10.02 and its 200-day moving average is $9.37.

Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, May 16th. The specialty retailer reported $0.17 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $0.17. Staples had a negative net margin of 12.51% and a positive return on equity of 14.07%. The company had revenue of $4.15 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.50 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.17 earnings per share. Staples’s quarterly revenue was down 4.9% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts predict that Staples will post $0.88 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, July 13th. Investors of record on Friday, June 23rd were given a dividend of $0.12 per share. This represents a $0.48 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.72%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, June 21st. Staples’s dividend payout ratio is currently -13.30%.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in SPLS. Clark Estates Inc. NY bought a new position in shares of Staples during the first quarter valued at about $2,982,000. Retirement Systems of Alabama boosted its position in shares of Staples by 0.5% in the first quarter. Retirement Systems of Alabama now owns 1,156,146 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $10,139,000 after buying an additional 6,113 shares in the last quarter. Rothschild Investment Corp IL boosted its position in shares of Staples by 3.3% in the first quarter. Rothschild Investment Corp IL now owns 47,475 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $416,000 after buying an additional 1,500 shares in the last quarter. Huntington National Bank boosted its position in shares of Staples by 32.4% in the first quarter. Huntington National Bank now owns 20,041 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $176,000 after buying an additional 4,900 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Hartford Investment Management Co. boosted its position in shares of Staples by 3.8% in the first quarter. Hartford Investment Management Co. now owns 171,606 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $1,505,000 after buying an additional 6,347 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 92.02% of the company’s stock.

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Staples Company Profile

Staples, Inc (Staples) is a provider of products and services that serve the needs of business customers and consumers. The Company offers a range of print and marketing and technology services. The Company’s segments include North American Delivery, North American Retail and Other. The North American Delivery segment consists of the United States and Canadian businesses, including Staples Business Advantage, staples.com, staples.ca, and quill.com, that sell and deliver products and services primarily to businesses.

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