Ross Stores Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Ross Stores reported a robust third-quarter fiscal 2016, wherein both top and the bottom lines beat our estimates as well as the company’s projections. Moreover, earnings and sales improved year over year. The strong results stemmed from impressive dd’s DISCOUNT performance as well as the improvement made in the ladies’ apparel business as customers favorably responded to its improved merchandise. Though Ross Stores expects to face challenges related to strong comparisons, amid macroeconomic uncertainty and a volatile retail landscape, it remains confident of performing well in the upcoming holiday season. While the company trimmed its fourth quarter earnings guidance due to the aforementioned headwinds, it raised its earnings forecast for fiscal 2016 on the back of solid year-to-date results. The company’s solid financial status, ongoing merchandise initiatives and consistent focus on store expansion bode well.”

ROST has been the subject of a number of other reports. Vetr cut shares of Ross Stores from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $65.00 price target for the company. in a research report on Monday, August 15th. Jefferies Group reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $57.00 price objective (up from $51.00) on shares of Ross Stores in a research report on Friday, August 19th. Buckingham Research raised shares of Ross Stores from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 25th. Bank of America Corp. set a $70.00 price objective on shares of Ross Stores and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, September 12th. Finally, Guggenheim reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $70.00 price objective on shares of Ross Stores in a research report on Friday, September 30th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $66.52.

Analyst Recommendations for Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST)

Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) traded up 2.510% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $69.635. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 4,771,742 shares. Ross Stores has a one year low of $49.06 and a one year high of $69.78. The firm has a market cap of $27.62 billion, a PE ratio of 26.507 and a beta of 0.94. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $63.70 and its 200 day moving average is $60.07.

Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 17th. The apparel retailer reported $0.62 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.56 by $0.06. The business had revenue of $3.10 billion for the quarter. Ross Stores had a return on equity of 42.09% and a net margin of 8.58%. Ross Stores’s revenue was up 10.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.53 EPS. On average, analysts anticipate that Ross Stores will post $2.76 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 30th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, December 7th will be paid a $0.135 dividend. This represents a $0.54 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.79%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, December 5th. Ross Stores’s dividend payout ratio is presently 19.85%.

In related news, CEO Barbara Rentler sold 20,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, September 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.54, for a total transaction of $1,250,800.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Gregory L. Quesnel sold 16,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $64.39, for a total transaction of $1,030,240.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 19,370 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,247,234.30. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 2.40% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of ROST. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD increased its stake in Ross Stores by 19.4% in the third quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD now owns 22,761,511 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock worth $1,463,565,000 after buying an additional 3,702,651 shares during the period. Two Sigma Advisers LP acquired a new stake in Ross Stores during the third quarter worth $124,228,000. FMR LLC increased its stake in Ross Stores by 5.4% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 36,204,880 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock worth $2,052,454,000 after buying an additional 1,852,111 shares during the period. Forsta AP Fonden acquired a new stake in Ross Stores during the second quarter worth $68,290,000. Finally, American Century Companies Inc. increased its stake in Ross Stores by 62.4% in the second quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 3,108,460 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock worth $176,219,000 after buying an additional 1,193,928 shares during the period. 88.94% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Ross Stores Company Profile

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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