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

According to Zacks, “Staples posted in-line earnings for the second straight quarter, when it reported third-quarter fiscal 2016 results. However, total sales came below the Zacks Consensus Estimate, after surpassing the same in the preceding two quarters. Persistent weakness in the office products sector, technological advancements and stiff competition from online retailers are weighing on the company’s performance. International sales also remain a drag. Both the top and bottom lines decline year over year during the quarter. Nevertheless, management has undertaken a strategic review of business operating model, growth prospects and cost structure to bring itself back on the growth trajectory and entered into an agreement to sell its UK retail business and operations. These endeavors will take time to reap benefit. For now management anticipates total sales to be lower in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 compared with the year-ago period.”

Several other analysts also recently issued reports on SPLS. TheStreet downgraded Staples to a “sell” rating in a report on Friday, August 19th. Jefferies Group restated a “hold” rating and set a $9.00 target price on shares of Staples in a research note on Thursday, August 18th. Telsey Advisory Group raised their target price on Staples from $8.00 to $9.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a research note on Thursday. Deutsche Bank AG lowered their target price on Staples from $9.00 to $8.00 and set a “hold” rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, August 18th. Finally, Morgan Stanley set a $10.00 target price on Staples and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 18th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating, one has given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $10.05.

Analyst Recommendations for Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS)

Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) traded up 3.32% during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $9.64. The stock had a trading volume of 7,218,067 shares. Staples has a 12-month low of $7.24 and a 12-month high of $12.79. The firm’s market cap is $6.27 billion. The company has a 50-day moving average of $7.92 and a 200-day moving average of $8.60.

Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 17th. The company reported $0.34 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $0.34. Staples had a positive return on equity of 11.20% and a negative net margin of 2.13%. The firm earned $5.40 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.40 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.35 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 4.3% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts expect that Staples will post $0.89 earnings per share for the current year.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Concert Wealth Management Inc. boosted its stake in Staples by 1.2% in the third quarter. Concert Wealth Management Inc. now owns 12,099 shares of the company’s stock worth $104,000 after buying an additional 145 shares during the period. Eads & Heald Investment Counsel raised its position in Staples by 1.8% in the third quarter. Eads & Heald Investment Counsel now owns 14,025 shares of the company’s stock worth $120,000 after buying an additional 245 shares in the last quarter. Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Company LTD raised its position in Staples by 0.6% in the second quarter. Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Company LTD now owns 50,662 shares of the company’s stock worth $436,000 after buying an additional 300 shares in the last quarter. Nomura Asset Management Co. Ltd. raised its position in Staples by 0.3% in the third quarter. Nomura Asset Management Co. Ltd. now owns 97,758 shares of the company’s stock worth $836,000 after buying an additional 308 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Rothschild Investment Corp IL raised its position in Staples by 1.1% in the third quarter. Rothschild Investment Corp IL now owns 44,475 shares of the company’s stock worth $380,000 after buying an additional 500 shares in the last quarter. 87.50% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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