Staples, Inc. (SPLS) Downgraded to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a note issued to investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Staples has made an official announcement that Sycamore Partners will acquire its business in a deal likely to be concluded by December. We note that shares of Staples have outpaced the industry in the past three months, stock is unlikely to gain in the near future as persistent weakness in the office products sector, technological advancements and stiff competition continue to hurt its performance. As a result, both the top and bottom lines continue to decline year over year. Although Staples posted in-line earnings for the fourth quarter in row, when it reported first-quarter fiscal 2017 results, sales missed our estimate for the third time. However, we can’t ignore the initiatives management has undertaken to bring itself back on the track. The company’s actions to streamline operations aimed at enhancing productivity and performance of North American business bode well.”

Several other brokerages also recently commented on SPLS. Jefferies Group LLC restated a “hold” rating and issued a $9.00 price objective on shares of Staples in a research report on Wednesday, August 9th. BidaskClub upgraded Staples from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Saturday, August 5th. Loop Capital reissued a “hold” rating and set a $5.00 price objective on shares of Staples in a research note on Friday, May 19th. Telsey Advisory Group boosted their price objective on Staples from $9.00 to $10.25 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research note on Thursday, June 29th. Finally, Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Staples in a research note on Tuesday, May 16th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the stock. Staples presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $9.18.

Staples (SPLS) opened at 10.20 on Wednesday. Staples has a 12 month low of $7.24 and a 12 month high of $10.25. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $10.13 and its 200-day moving average price is $9.41. The stock’s market cap is $6.66 billion.

Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, May 16th. The specialty retailer reported $0.17 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.17. The company had revenue of $4.15 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.50 billion. Staples had a positive return on equity of 14.07% and a negative net margin of 12.51%. Staples’s quarterly revenue was down 4.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.17 earnings per share. Analysts anticipate that Staples will post $0.88 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of SPLS. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. boosted its stake in Staples by 3.2% in the first quarter. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. now owns 560,807 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $4,919,000 after buying an additional 17,202 shares during the period. Bank of Montreal Can raised its position in Staples by 10.7% in the first quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 2,059,504 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $18,062,000 after buying an additional 198,666 shares during the period. Fox Run Management L.L.C. acquired a new position in Staples during the first quarter worth $243,000. DnB Asset Management AS raised its position in Staples by 32.2% in the first quarter. DnB Asset Management AS now owns 48,849 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $428,000 after buying an additional 11,900 shares during the period. Finally, Benin Management CORP acquired a new position in Staples during the first quarter worth $234,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 90.62% of the company’s stock.

About Staples

Staples, Inc (Staples) is a provider of products and services that serve the needs of business customers and consumers. The Company offers a range of print and marketing and technology services. The Company’s segments include North American Delivery, North American Retail and Other. The North American Delivery segment consists of the United States and Canadian businesses, including Staples Business Advantage, staples.com, staples.ca, and quill.com, that sell and deliver products and services primarily to businesses.

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