Ross Stores Sees Unusually Large Options Volume (ROST)

Ross Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST) saw some unusual options trading on Thursday. Investors acquired 5,235 put options on the stock. This represents an increase of 2,312% compared to the typical volume of 217 put options.

Several equities analysts recently commented on ROST shares. DA Davidson boosted their target price on Ross Stores to $92.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research report on Thursday, March 7th. Guggenheim restated a “buy” rating and set a $105.00 target price on shares of Ross Stores in a research report on Tuesday, March 5th. Loop Capital boosted their target price on Ross Stores to $105.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, January 24th. BidaskClub cut Ross Stores from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, March 13th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co boosted their target price on Ross Stores from $92.00 to $104.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Wednesday, March 6th. Ten investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nineteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $97.84.

ROST opened at $94.51 on Friday. Ross Stores has a 12-month low of $75.91 and a 12-month high of $104.35. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.09, a current ratio of 1.69 and a quick ratio of 0.82. The stock has a market capitalization of $34.73 billion, a PE ratio of 22.19, a PEG ratio of 2.08 and a beta of 0.89.

Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, May 23rd. The apparel retailer reported $1.13 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.12 by $0.01. Ross Stores had a return on equity of 49.58% and a net margin of 10.60%. The firm had revenue of $3.80 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.79 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.11 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.8% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, equities research analysts expect that Ross Stores will post 4.5 EPS for the current year.

Ross Stores declared that its board has initiated a share repurchase program on Tuesday, March 5th that permits the company to repurchase $2.55 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the apparel retailer to repurchase up to 7.3% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are often a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 28th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, June 11th will be issued a $0.255 dividend. This represents a $1.02 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.08%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, June 10th. Ross Stores’s payout ratio is currently 23.94%.

In related news, Chairman Michael Balmuth sold 25,689 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, March 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $90.77, for a total transaction of $2,331,790.53. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 51,998 shares in the company, valued at $4,719,858.46. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, EVP Michael J. Hartshorn sold 9,924 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, March 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $91.48, for a total value of $907,847.52. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders sold 137,054 shares of company stock valued at $12,504,328. 2.30% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of ROST. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund boosted its holdings in shares of Ross Stores by 8,178.6% in the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 13,859,040 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock worth $167,000 after purchasing an additional 13,691,631 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank purchased a new position in shares of Ross Stores in the 4th quarter worth about $298,173,000. BlackRock Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Ross Stores by 7.7% in the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 28,069,263 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock worth $2,335,364,000 after purchasing an additional 2,017,295 shares in the last quarter. Third Point LLC bought a new stake in shares of Ross Stores in the 1st quarter valued at about $148,960,000. Finally, Wellington Management Group LLP lifted its stake in shares of Ross Stores by 35.2% in the 1st quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 4,984,731 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock valued at $464,078,000 after acquiring an additional 1,297,442 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 88.31% of the company’s stock.

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About Ross Stores

Ross Stores, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, operates off-price retail apparel and home fashion stores under the Ross Dress for Less and dd's DISCOUNTS brands. Its stores primarily offers apparel, accessories, footwear, and home fashions. The company's Ross Dress for Less stores sell its products at department and specialty stores primarily to middle income households; and dd's DISCOUNTS stores sell its products at department and discount stores regular prices to customers from households with moderate income.

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