Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) saw some unusual options trading activity on Monday. Traders acquired 6,466 put options on the stock. This represents an increase of approximately 538% compared to the typical volume of 1,014 put options.

LOW has been the subject of a number of research reports. Sanford C. Bernstein reiterated an “underperform” rating and set a $69.00 target price on shares of Lowe’s Companies in a research report on Wednesday, July 12th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Lowe’s Companies from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, July 17th. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $89.00 target price on shares of Lowe’s Companies in a research report on Thursday, July 20th. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $89.00 target price on shares of Lowe’s Companies in a research report on Friday, July 21st. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $87.00 target price on shares of Lowe’s Companies in a research report on Friday, July 21st. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. Lowe’s Companies has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $85.32.

Shares of Lowe’s Companies (NYSE LOW) opened at 81.86 on Friday. The company has a 50-day moving average of $77.32 and a 200-day moving average of $79.43. Lowe’s Companies has a 52 week low of $64.87 and a 52 week high of $86.25. The stock has a market capitalization of $68.17 billion, a P/E ratio of 23.24 and a beta of 1.07.

Lowe’s Companies (NYSE:LOW) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 23rd. The home improvement retailer reported $1.57 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.62 by ($0.05). Lowe’s Companies had a return on equity of 62.02% and a net margin of 4.51%. The business had revenue of $19.50 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $19.58 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $1.37 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.8% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts anticipate that Lowe’s Companies will post $4.50 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 8th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, October 25th will be paid a $0.41 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, October 24th. This represents a $1.64 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.00%. Lowe’s Companies’s payout ratio is 46.20%.

In related news, SVP Matthew V. Hollifield sold 7,853 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, September 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.30, for a total transaction of $614,889.90. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 30,750 shares in the company, valued at $2,407,725. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, insider Paul D. Ramsay sold 2,098 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.02, for a total transaction of $163,685.96. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 8,400 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $655,368. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.11% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in Lowe’s Companies by 0.4% in the 1st quarter. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. now owns 1,236 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $101,000 after purchasing an additional 5 shares during the period. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America boosted its stake in Lowe’s Companies by 0.4% in the 1st quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America now owns 3,346 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $275,000 after purchasing an additional 13 shares during the period. Winfield Associates Inc. boosted its stake in Lowe’s Companies by 0.6% in the 1st quarter. Winfield Associates Inc. now owns 2,392 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $196,000 after purchasing an additional 15 shares during the period. Modera Wealth Management LLC boosted its stake in Lowe’s Companies by 0.3% in the 1st quarter. Modera Wealth Management LLC now owns 4,927 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $405,000 after purchasing an additional 15 shares during the period. Finally, Alps Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in Lowe’s Companies by 0.3% in the 2nd quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. now owns 5,844 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $453,000 after purchasing an additional 15 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 74.22% of the company’s stock.

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About Lowe’s Companies

Lowe’s Companies, Inc (Lowe’s) is a home improvement company. The Company operates approximately 2,370 home improvement and hardware stores. The Company offers a range of products for maintenance, repair, remodeling and decorating. The Company offers home improvement products in categories, including Lumber and Building Materials; Tools and Hardware; Appliances; Fashion Fixtures; Rough Plumbing and Electrical; Lawn and Garden; Seasonal and Outdoor Living; Paint; Flooring; Millwork, and Kitchens.

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