Lowe's Companies (LOW) Upgraded to Buy by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Lowe's Companies (NYSE:LOW) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report report published on Friday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $116.00 price target on the home improvement retailer’s stock.

According to Zacks, “We believe improving job scenario, housing market recovery, merchandising initiatives and post hurricane construction activities along with efforts to enhance omni-channel capabilities bode well for Lowe’s. These have led shares to increase and outpace the industry in the past three months. The buyout of Maintenance Supply Headquarters is also strengthening relationship with pro customers. These endeavors aided the company to post better-than-expected third-quarter fiscal 2017 results, after witnessing negative surprises during the preceding two quarters. Also both the top and bottom lines sustained their year over year improvement. However, we noticed that in spite of sturdy performance, Lowe’s maintained its outlook. Management continues to expect sales to increase 5% with comps growth of 3.5% during fiscal 2017. Of late, estimates are trending upwards ahead of the company’s fourth quarter earnings release.”

LOW has been the topic of several other reports. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $103.00 price target on shares of Lowe's Companies in a research report on Friday, December 22nd. Robert W. Baird set a $87.00 price target on Lowe's Companies and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 31st. Telsey Advisory Group raised their price target on Lowe's Companies from $79.00 to $83.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 22nd. Consumer Edge raised Lowe's Companies from a neutral rating to an outperform rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 16th. Finally, Zelman & Associates downgraded Lowe's Companies from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, January 5th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and twenty-two have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $94.49.

Lowe's Companies (NYSE LOW) opened at $101.50 on Friday. Lowe's Companies has a 1-year low of $70.76 and a 1-year high of $108.98. The company has a current ratio of 1.02, a quick ratio of 0.12 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.71. The firm has a market capitalization of $84,220.70, a PE ratio of 22.51, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.10 and a beta of 1.19.

Lowe's Companies (NYSE:LOW) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, November 21st. The home improvement retailer reported $1.05 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.02 by $0.03. Lowe's Companies had a return on equity of 66.27% and a net margin of 5.16%. The company had revenue of $16.77 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $16.59 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.88 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 6.6% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts anticipate that Lowe's Companies will post 4.52 EPS for the current year.

Lowe's Companies announced that its board has authorized a share repurchase program on Friday, January 26th that permits the company to buyback $5.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the home improvement retailer to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, February 7th. Investors of record on Wednesday, January 24th will be given a dividend of $0.41 per share. This represents a $1.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.62%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, January 23rd. Lowe's Companies’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 39.33%.

In related news, insider Nelson B. Peace sold 3,352 shares of Lowe's Companies stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.20, for a total transaction of $268,830.40. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 4,650 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $372,930. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. 0.11% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Patton Albertson Miller Group LLC lifted its stake in Lowe's Companies by 3.8% during the fourth quarter. Patton Albertson Miller Group LLC now owns 18,584 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $1,727,000 after purchasing an additional 682 shares during the period. Dowling & Yahnke LLC lifted its stake in Lowe's Companies by 1.8% during the fourth quarter. Dowling & Yahnke LLC now owns 53,726 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $4,993,000 after purchasing an additional 954 shares during the period. Harvey Capital Management Inc. lifted its stake in Lowe's Companies by 1.6% during the fourth quarter. Harvey Capital Management Inc. now owns 72,230 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $6,713,000 after purchasing an additional 1,105 shares during the period. Meeder Asset Management Inc. lifted its stake in Lowe's Companies by 7.3% during the fourth quarter. Meeder Asset Management Inc. now owns 9,490 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $881,000 after purchasing an additional 645 shares during the period. Finally, Public Employees Retirement Association of Colorado lifted its stake in Lowe's Companies by 4.8% during the fourth quarter. Public Employees Retirement Association of Colorado now owns 159,669 shares of the home improvement retailer’s stock worth $14,840,000 after purchasing an additional 7,351 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.54% 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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