Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday.

According to Zacks, “It seems that Lowe's has not been able to extract optimum benefit from improving job scenario and gradual recovery in the housing market. The stock hasn’t exhibited a considerable run in the bourses and just increased 6.6% in the past six months when compared with the industry’s gain of 8.8%. Lower-than-expected first-quarter fiscal 2017 results can be cited as one of the reasons for the same. We also noted that comparable sales did increase but came below analysts’ expectations and the rate of growth decelerated sequentially. Moreover, contraction in gross margin continued in the quarter as well. Nevertheless, management is focusing on improving its merchandising initiatives along with efforts to provide better omni-channel facilities and is also strengthening its relationship with pro customers. The company is concentrating on enhancing supply chain and managing inventory as well as containing costs.”

LOW has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Jefferies Group LLC increased their target price on Lowe’s Companies from $80.00 to $94.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, May 12th. Vetr raised Lowe’s Companies from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $83.11 price target on the stock in a report on Monday, April 24th. Credit Suisse Group set a $94.00 price target on Lowe’s Companies and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, May 2nd. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $89.00 price target on shares of Lowe’s Companies in a report on Friday, May 5th. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein reissued an “underperform” rating and issued a $69.00 price target on shares of Lowe’s Companies in a report on Wednesday, July 12th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and fifteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Lowe’s Companies currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $85.39.

Shares of Lowe’s Companies (NYSE LOW) traded up 0.63% during midday trading on Monday, reaching $76.54. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,382,439 shares. Lowe’s Companies has a 1-year low of $64.87 and a 1-year high of $86.25. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $80.38 and its 200 day moving average price is $78.55. The firm has a market capitalization of $64.62 billion, a PE ratio of 24.00 and a beta of 1.08.

Lowe’s Companies (NYSE:LOW) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, May 24th. The home improvement retailer reported $1.03 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.06 by $0.03. Lowe’s Companies had a return on equity of 56.78% and a net margin of 4.22%. The firm had revenue of $16.86 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $16.99 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.87 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 10.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Lowe’s Companies will post $4.62 earnings per share for the current year.

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In other news, insider Richard D. Maltsbarger sold 11,672 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, May 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.20, for a total value of $936,094.40. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 37,716 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,024,823.20. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Lowe’s Companies by 0.4% in the first quarter. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. now owns 1,236 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock valued at $101,000 after buying an additional 5 shares during the period. Washington Trust Bank boosted its stake in shares of Lowe’s Companies by 27.4% in the first quarter. Washington Trust Bank now owns 1,238 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock valued at $102,000 after buying an additional 266 shares during the period. Harbour Capital Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Lowe’s Companies during the first quarter valued at approximately $103,000. State of Alaska Department of Revenue acquired a new stake in shares of Lowe’s Companies during the first quarter valued at approximately $109,000. Finally, Hanson McClain Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Lowe’s Companies by 3.5% in the first quarter. Hanson McClain Inc. now owns 1,337 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock valued at $110,000 after buying an additional 45 shares during the period. 74.54% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Lowe’s Companies

Lowe’s Companies, Inc (Lowe’s) is a home improvement retailer. The Company operates approximately 1,860 home improvement and hardware stores, representing approximately 200 million square feet of retail selling space. The Company operates approximately 1,800 stores located across over 50 states in the United States, including approximately 80 Orchard Supply Hardware (Orchard) stores in California and Oregon, as well as approximately 40 stores in Canada and over 10 stores in Mexico.

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Analyst Recommendations for Lowe`s Companies (NYSE:LOW)

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