Ross Stores Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report released on Wednesday. The brokerage currently has a $72.00 target price on the apparel retailer’s stock. Zacks Investment Research’s target price points to a potential upside of 12.04% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Ross Stores has been gaining from the favorable response of value-focused customers to its extensive collection of brands and solid cost controls. Though Ross Stores expects to face obstacles related to strong comparisons, amid macroeconomic uncertainty and a competitive retail landscape, it remains confident of performing well in the year ahead. This is also highlighted by the robust third and fourth quarter view provided with its second quarter results. Also, Ross's solid financial status, ongoing merchandise initiatives and consistent focus on store expansion bode well. Evidently, the company recently achieved its expansion target for the second quarter, which also marked the second leg of expansion under the company's fiscal 2016 plan of adding nearly 90 stores. At the same time, however, over-expansion in new domestic markets may invite the threat of cannibalization. Estimates have been stable ahead of its third-quarter results.”

ROST has been the subject of a number of other reports. Jefferies Group restated a “hold” rating on shares of Ross Stores in a report on Thursday, July 14th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reiterated a “neutral” rating and issued a $64.00 price target on shares of Ross Stores in a report on Monday, August 1st. Buckingham Research upgraded Ross Stores from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, August 25th. Cowen and Company increased their price target on Ross Stores from $61.00 to $63.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 13th. Finally, Citigroup Inc. increased their price target on Ross Stores from $65.00 to $72.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, August 19th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and sixteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $65.25.

Analyst Recommendations for Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST)

Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) traded up 0.475% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $64.565. The stock had a trading volume of 1,353,571 shares. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $63.03 and a 200 day moving average price of $58.56. The stock has a market cap of $25.61 billion, a P/E ratio of 24.577 and a beta of 0.94. Ross Stores has a one year low of $43.47 and a one year high of $66.28.

Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 18th. The apparel retailer reported $0.71 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.67 by $0.04. The business earned $3.18 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.13 billion. Ross Stores had a return on equity of 42.01% and a net margin of 8.55%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.63 EPS. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Ross Stores will post $2.75 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 30th. Investors of record on Friday, September 2nd were paid a dividend of $0.135 per share. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 31st. This represents a $0.54 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.84%. Ross Stores’s dividend payout ratio is presently 20.53%.

In related news, insider James S. Fassio sold 12,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $63.35, for a total transaction of $760,200.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, CEO Barbara Rentler sold 12,840 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $63.76, for a total transaction of $818,678.40. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 542,851 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $34,612,179.76. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 2.40% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. IFP Advisors Inc boosted its stake in shares of Ross Stores by 7.0% in the first quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 4,887 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock worth $283,000 after buying an additional 321 shares during the last quarter. Pacad Investment Ltd. acquired a new stake in shares of Ross Stores during the first quarter worth $615,000. Ngam Advisors L.P. boosted its stake in shares of Ross Stores by 19.8% in the first quarter. Ngam Advisors L.P. now owns 36,137 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock worth $2,092,000 after buying an additional 5,975 shares during the last quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Ross Stores by 33.8% in the first quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 1,975,906 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock worth $114,405,000 after buying an additional 499,451 shares during the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Group LTD boosted its stake in shares of Ross Stores by 14.3% in the first quarter. BlackRock Group LTD now owns 3,885,806 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock worth $224,988,000 after buying an additional 485,620 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 90.21% of the company’s stock.

About Ross Stores

Ross Stores, Inc is an off-price retailer of name brand and designer apparel, accessories, footwear, and home fashions for the entire family. The Company operates two brands of off-price retail apparel and home fashion stores, Ross Dress for Less (Ross) and dd’s DISCOUNTS. As of December 31, 2014, the Company operated 1,210 Ross locations in 33 states, the District of Columbia and Guam, and 152 dd’s DISCOUNTS stores in 15 states.

5 Day Chart for NASDAQ:ROST

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