Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Home Depot, Inc. (The) (NYSE:HD) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report report published on Monday. The brokerage currently has $179.00 price objective on the home improvement retailer’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Home Depot’s spectacular past performance has helped it to surpass the industry in the past year. The company has been consistently gaining from its interconnected strategy, focus on Pro customers, and housing market recovery. These factors helped the company post a stellar second-quarter fiscal 2017 performance, which marked its highest ever quarterly sales and earnings. Notably, sales marked its 13th straight beat, while earnings retained its 5-year long trend of positive surprise. Results were driven by solid growth across all regions, both in stores and online. Also, Pro category sales continued to outperform, driven by constant efforts to enrich customers’ experiences. The sturdy first half and expectations of improved home prices encouraged the company to raise its fiscal 2017 view. However, gross margin remained plateaued, and is likely to fall 10 bps in fiscal 2017. Also, competition from online retailers may impact results.”

Several other research analysts also recently commented on HD. UBS AG reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $175.00 target price (up from $173.00) on shares of Home Depot, Inc. (The) in a research note on Wednesday, May 17th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $182.00 target price on shares of Home Depot, Inc. (The) in a research note on Thursday, August 10th. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $178.00 target price on shares of Home Depot, Inc. (The) in a research note on Wednesday, August 16th. Telsey Advisory Group reaffirmed an outperform rating on shares of Home Depot, Inc. (The) in a research note on Friday, August 11th. Finally, Wedbush reaffirmed a market perform rating on shares of Home Depot, Inc. (The) in a research note on Wednesday, August 16th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating, nineteen have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $169.86.

Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD) opened at 160.02 on Monday. Home Depot, Inc. has a 52 week low of $119.20 and a 52 week high of $161.38. The company has a market capitalization of $188.63 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.03 and a beta of 1.07. The company’s 50-day moving average is $151.74 and its 200 day moving average is $151.62.

Home Depot, Inc. (The) (NYSE:HD) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, August 15th. The home improvement retailer reported $2.25 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $2.21 by $0.04. Home Depot, Inc. (The) had a net margin of 8.63% and a return on equity of 192.30%. The company had revenue of $28.11 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $27.84 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $1.97 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.2% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts forecast that Home Depot, Inc. will post $7.32 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 14th. Investors of record on Thursday, August 31st will be paid a $0.89 dividend. This represents a $3.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.22%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, August 29th. Home Depot, Inc. (The)’s payout ratio is 51.15%.

In related news, EVP Ann Marie Campbell sold 10,717 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $152.40, for a total value of $1,633,270.80. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 64,810 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,877,044. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, EVP Matt Carey sold 32,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $157.10, for a total transaction of $5,027,200.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 62,483 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,816,079.30. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 57,717 shares of company stock worth $8,916,321. 0.26% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Intl Fcstone Inc. purchased a new position in Home Depot, Inc. (The) in the 2nd quarter worth about $2,274,000. M Holdings Securities Inc. raised its position in Home Depot, Inc. (The) by 15.4% in the 2nd quarter. M Holdings Securities Inc. now owns 6,776 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $1,039,000 after buying an additional 905 shares during the last quarter. Griffin Asset Management Inc. purchased a new position in Home Depot, Inc. (The) in the 2nd quarter worth about $5,438,000. Gs Investments Inc. purchased a new position in Home Depot, Inc. (The) in the 2nd quarter worth about $3,143,000. Finally, Achmea Investment Management B.V. raised its position in Home Depot, Inc. (The) by 50.4% in the 2nd quarter. Achmea Investment Management B.V. now owns 119,680 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $18,355,000 after buying an additional 40,083 shares during the last quarter. 71.45% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Home Depot, Inc. (The)

The Home Depot, Inc (The Home Depot) is a home improvement retailer. The Company sells an assortment of building materials, home improvement products, and lawn and garden products, and provides various services. The Home Depot stores serves three primary customer groups: do-it-yourself (DIY) customers, do-it-for-me (DIFM) customers and professional customers.

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Analyst Recommendations for Home Depot, Inc. (The) (NYSE:HD)

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