First Financial Bank Trust Division grew its stake in Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) by 16.8% during the 1st quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 49,340 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock after purchasing an additional 7,094 shares during the period. Lowe’s Companies comprises about 1.0% of First Financial Bank Trust Division’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 29th biggest position. First Financial Bank Trust Division’s holdings in Lowe’s Companies were worth $9,383,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Several other large investors also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Norges Bank acquired a new position in shares of Lowe’s Companies in the 4th quarter valued at $1,285,445,000. FMR LLC raised its position in Lowe’s Companies by 10.7% in the fourth quarter. FMR LLC now owns 30,352,415 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $4,871,866,000 after purchasing an additional 2,940,777 shares in the last quarter. Maj Invest Holding A S lifted its stake in Lowe’s Companies by 106.9% during the fourth quarter. Maj Invest Holding A S now owns 1,934,106 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $310,443,000 after purchasing an additional 999,428 shares during the period. Lazard Asset Management LLC grew its stake in shares of Lowe’s Companies by 17.8% in the 4th quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC now owns 6,502,725 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock valued at $1,043,751,000 after purchasing an additional 982,465 shares during the period. Finally, Morgan Stanley raised its holdings in shares of Lowe’s Companies by 15.6% in the 4th quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 5,819,866 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $934,149,000 after buying an additional 783,731 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 76.11% of the company’s stock.

A number of brokerages have weighed in on LOW. Citigroup started coverage on Lowe’s Companies in a research report on Monday, March 15th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $195.00 price target on the stock. Zelman & Associates raised Lowe’s Companies from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, February 12th. Wells Fargo & Company boosted their price objective on shares of Lowe’s Companies from $200.00 to $210.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Monday, March 29th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Gordon Haskett raised Lowe’s Companies from an “accumulate” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $202.00 price objective for the company in a report on Wednesday, March 3rd. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada raised their target price on shares of Lowe’s Companies from $203.00 to $206.00 in a research note on Thursday, February 25th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty-nine have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $179.12.

Shares of LOW stock traded up $0.16 during trading on Thursday, reaching $193.83. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 16,765 shares, compared to its average volume of 4,117,038. Lowe’s Companies, Inc. has a one year low of $90.59 and a one year high of $194.97. The business has a fifty day moving average price of $175.20 and a 200-day moving average price of $167.29. The company has a market cap of $139.03 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 27.39, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.18 and a beta of 1.37. The company has a quick ratio of 0.57, a current ratio of 1.38 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 5.20.

Lowe’s Companies (NYSE:LOW) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 23rd. The home improvement retailer reported $1.33 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.21 by $0.12. The firm had revenue of $20.31 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $19.54 billion. Lowe’s Companies had a net margin of 6.29% and a return on equity of 211.33%. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.94 EPS. Research analysts anticipate that Lowe’s Companies, Inc. will post 8.7 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, May 5th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, April 21st will be paid a $0.60 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, April 20th. This represents a $2.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.24%. Lowe’s Companies’s dividend payout ratio is 41.96%.

In related news, Director David H. Batchelder acquired 6,250 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 26th. The shares were bought at an average price of $159.48 per share, for a total transaction of $996,750.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. 0.07% of the stock is owned by insiders.

About Lowe’s Companies

Lowe's Companies, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a home improvement retailer in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The company offers a line of products for construction, maintenance, repair, remodeling, and decorating. It provides home improvement products in various categories, such as appliances, décor, paint, hardware, millwork, lawn and garden, lighting, lumber and building materials, flooring, kitchens and bath, rough plumbing and electrical, seasonal and outdoor living, and tools.

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

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