Staples Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a note issued to investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Stiff competition, soft international sales and sluggish demand for paper-based office products due to technological advancements remain major concerns for Staples. During the first and second quarters of fiscal 2016, sales from international operations declined 5.6% and 7.5%, respectively, reflecting lower comps in Europe. Moreover, for the third quarter management projects adjusted earnings per share in the range of $0.32–$0.35 and expects total sales to fall from the level recorded in the prior-year quarter. We observed that estimates have been stable lately ahead of the company’s third-quarter earnings announcement. On the other hand, following the verdict on the merger, Staples outlined definite plans to increase long-term value. In order to acquire new customers, the company intends to increase its offering of products as well as services beyond office supplies.”

SPLS has been the subject of several other research reports. TheStreet cut Staples to a “sell” rating in a report on Friday, August 19th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “neutral” rating on shares of Staples in a report on Wednesday, October 5th. Citigroup Inc. cut their price target on Staples from $18.00 to $15.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a report on Thursday, August 25th. Morgan Stanley set a $10.00 price target on Staples and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, August 18th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG cut their price target on Staples from $9.00 to $8.00 and set a “hold” rating for the company in a report on Thursday, August 18th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have assigned a hold rating, one has given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $10.50.

Analyst Recommendations for Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS)

Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) opened at 8.08 on Thursday. The firm’s market cap is $5.26 billion. Staples has a 12 month low of $7.24 and a 12 month high of $13.10. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $7.84 and its 200-day moving average price is $8.65.

Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, August 17th. The company reported $0.12 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $0.12. Staples had a positive return on equity of 11.20% and a negative net margin of 2.13%. The firm earned $4.80 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.78 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.12 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 3.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts predict that Staples will post $0.89 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, October 13th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 23rd were given a $0.12 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, September 21st. This represents a $0.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 5.94%. Staples’s payout ratio is -70.59%.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in SPLS. BB&T Securities LLC raised its position in shares of Staples by 116.0% in the third quarter. BB&T Securities LLC now owns 49,382 shares of the company’s stock worth $422,000 after buying an additional 26,516 shares during the last quarter. Diamond Hill Capital Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Staples by 3.8% in the third quarter. Diamond Hill Capital Management Inc. now owns 4,471,987 shares of the company’s stock worth $38,235,000 after buying an additional 164,484 shares during the last quarter. California State Teachers Retirement System raised its position in shares of Staples by 0.8% in the third quarter. California State Teachers Retirement System now owns 1,415,402 shares of the company’s stock worth $12,102,000 after buying an additional 11,900 shares during the last quarter. State of Tennessee Treasury Department raised its position in shares of Staples by 30.2% in the third quarter. State of Tennessee Treasury Department now owns 303,884 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,599,000 after buying an additional 70,469 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Schroder Investment Management Group raised its position in shares of Staples by 2.8% in the third quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 27,888,841 shares of the company’s stock worth $238,449,000 after buying an additional 755,229 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 86.79% of the company’s stock.

Staples Company Profile

Staples, Inc is a provider of products and services for business customers and consumers. The Company offers a selection of products, Websites and mobile platforms, and a range of copy, print and technology services. The Company operates through three business segments, which include North American Stores & Online, North American Commercial and International Operations.

5 Day Chart for NASDAQ:SPLS

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