Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Ross Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Ross Stores has outperformed the broader industry in the past year, given its positive record of earnings surprises in 12 of the trailing 13 quarters. In second-quarter fiscal 2017, both the top and bottom lines topped estimates and improved year over year. Results gained from solid top-line growth that was driven by broad-based growth across all merchandise categories and regions. Further, better-than-expected sales and operating profits at dd's DISCOUNTS aided results. Concluding first-half fiscal 2017 on a strong note, the company provided guidance for the second half and accordingly raised earnings view for fiscal 2017. This led to an uptrend in estimates for fiscal 2017. Moreover, its solid financial status, ongoing merchandise initiatives and consistent focus on-store expansion bode well. However, the company anticipates witnessing the most challenging year-ago comparisons in second-half fiscal 2017, alongside a volatile retail backdrop.”

A number of other research firms have also issued reports on ROST. Royal Bank Of Canada set a $70.00 target price on Ross Stores and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Monday, May 15th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $63.00 target price on shares of Ross Stores in a research note on Tuesday, May 16th. William Blair reaffirmed an outperform rating on shares of Ross Stores in a research note on Monday, May 22nd. Morgan Stanley reaffirmed an overweight rating and issued a $69.00 target price on shares of Ross Stores in a research note on Monday, May 22nd. Finally, Telsey Advisory Group reduced their target price on Ross Stores from $77.00 to $70.00 and set a market perform rating on the stock in a research note on Friday, May 19th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Ross Stores currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $69.28.

Shares of Ross Stores (ROST) opened at 59.38 on Wednesday. The company has a market cap of $22.74 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.61 and a beta of 1.10. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $55.44 and its 200 day moving average price is $61.85. Ross Stores has a 52 week low of $52.85 and a 52 week high of $69.81.

Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, August 17th. The apparel retailer reported $0.82 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.77 by $0.05. Ross Stores had a return on equity of 42.95% and a net margin of 8.87%. The firm had revenue of $3.43 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.37 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.71 EPS. Ross Stores’s revenue was up 7.9% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts anticipate that Ross Stores will post $3.23 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 29th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, September 7th will be issued a dividend of $0.16 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, September 6th. This represents a $0.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.08%. Ross Stores’s payout ratio is 21.12%.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America increased its stake in Ross Stores by 0.7% in the first quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America now owns 1,529 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock worth $101,000 after buying an additional 10 shares during the last quarter. TrimTabs Asset Management LLC increased its stake in Ross Stores by 89.2% in the first quarter. TrimTabs Asset Management LLC now owns 1,646 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock worth $108,000 after buying an additional 776 shares during the last quarter. Nikko Asset Management Americas Inc. purchased a new stake in Ross Stores during the first quarter worth approximately $112,000. Parallel Advisors LLC increased its stake in Ross Stores by 39.1% in the first quarter. Parallel Advisors LLC now owns 1,701 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock worth $111,000 after buying an additional 478 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Balentine LLC increased its stake in Ross Stores by 0.3% in the second quarter. Balentine LLC now owns 1,775 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock worth $102,000 after buying an additional 5 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 90.20% of the company’s stock.

Ross Stores Company Profile

Ross Stores, Inc and its subsidiaries operate two brands of off-price retail apparel and home fashion stores-Ross Dress for Less (Ross) and dd’s DISCOUNTS. The Company is the off-price apparel and home fashion chain in the United States, with 1,340 locations in 36 states, the District of Columbia and Guam, as of January 28, 2017.

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Analyst Recommendations for Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST)

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