Essex Financial Services Inc. reduced its stake in Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) by 24.5% during the first quarter, according to its most recent filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 2,543 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock after selling 825 shares during the period. Essex Financial Services Inc.’s holdings in Lowe’s Companies were worth $209,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Glenview Capital Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Lowe’s Companies during the fourth quarter valued at about $289,894,000. Valicenti Advisory Services Inc. raised its position in shares of Lowe’s Companies by 5.1% in the first quarter. Valicenti Advisory Services Inc. now owns 53,675 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock valued at $4,413,000 after buying an additional 2,625 shares during the period. Norman Fields Gottscho Capital Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Lowe’s Companies during the first quarter valued at about $765,000. CMH Wealth Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Lowe’s Companies during the fourth quarter valued at about $1,419,000. Finally, Heritage Trust Co bought a new position in shares of Lowe’s Companies during the first quarter valued at about $789,000. 74.73% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (LOW) traded up 0.06% during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $77.91. 3,833,165 shares of the company traded hands. The stock has a market capitalization of $65.77 billion, a P/E ratio of 24.42 and a beta of 1.08. Lowe’s Companies, Inc. has a 52 week low of $64.87 and a 52 week high of $86.25. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $77.18 and a 200-day moving average price of $79.23.

Lowe’s Companies (NYSE:LOW) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, May 24th. The home improvement retailer reported $1.03 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate 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 quarter last year, the business earned $0.87 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 10.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts anticipate that Lowe’s Companies, Inc. will post $4.62 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, August 9th. Investors of record on Wednesday, July 26th will be paid a dividend of $0.41 per share. The ex-dividend date is Monday, July 24th. This is a boost from Lowe’s Companies’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.35. This represents a $1.64 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.10%. Lowe’s Companies’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 51.57%.

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Several research analysts recently issued reports on LOW shares. Vetr lowered shares of Lowe’s Companies from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $83.11 target price for the company. in a research report on Monday, May 8th. Jefferies Group LLC upped their price target on shares of Lowe’s Companies from $80.00 to $94.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, May 12th. Credit Suisse Group set a $94.00 price target on shares of Lowe’s Companies and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 2nd. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Lowe’s Companies from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $92.00 price target for the company in a research report on Tuesday, April 18th. Finally, Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. set a $100.00 price target on shares of Lowe’s Companies and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 24th. Four research 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. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $85.39.

In related 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 transaction of $936,094.40. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 37,716 shares in the company, valued at $3,024,823.20. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Company insiders own 0.11% of the company’s stock.

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.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Lowe`s Companies (NYSE:LOW)

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