Zacks Investment Research Lowers Fred's, Inc. (FRED) to Strong Sell

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Fred's, Inc. (NASDAQ:FRED) from a hold rating to a strong sell rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Estimates have been revised downward since Fred’s continues to report lower year over year comps for the fifth month in a row. Soft sales continue to mar the company’s earnings result as it succumbed to another loss bearing third quarter fiscal 2016. Lackluster performance in the front store category and margin pressure due to negative pricing in the pharmacy sector remains matter of concerns. The shares of the company have underperformed the Zacks categorized Retail-wholesale sector for the past one year. The company is also not competent enough to compete with other online retailers in the age of rising popularity of online shopping.”

Several other research analysts have also issued reports on the stock. Sidoti lowered shares of Fred's from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $12.00 price target for the company. in a research report on Tuesday, December 20th. TheStreet raised shares of Fred's from a d+ rating to a c- rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 24th. Stephens raised shares of Fred's from an underweight rating to an equal weight rating in a research note on Friday, January 6th. Deutsche Bank AG reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $23.00 price objective (up from $8.00) on shares of Fred's in a research note on Friday, December 23rd. Finally, MKM Partners reaffirmed a neutral rating and set a $22.00 price objective (up from $9.00) on shares of Fred's in a research note on Friday, December 23rd. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $18.00.

Shares of Fred's (NASDAQ:FRED) traded down 0.67% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $13.31. The stock had a trading volume of 539,898 shares. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $14.55 and its 200-day moving average price is $13.36. Fred's has a one year low of $7.89 and a one year high of $21.77. The company’s market cap is $505.59 million.

Fred's (NASDAQ:FRED) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 6th. The company reported ($0.11) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.16) by $0.05. Fred's had a negative net margin of 2.23% and a negative return on equity of 0.94%. The firm earned $529.70 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $530.80 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.07 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 4.5% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Fred's will post $0.41 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Louisiana State Employees Retirement System boosted its stake in Fred's by 1.4% in the first quarter. Louisiana State Employees Retirement System now owns 14,300 shares of the company’s stock valued at $187,000 after buying an additional 200 shares during the period. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans boosted its stake in Fred's by 6.8% in the fourth quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 19,050 shares of the company’s stock valued at $354,000 after buying an additional 1,220 shares during the period. Matarin Capital Management LLC bought a new stake in Fred's during the third quarter valued at approximately $201,000. Horrell Capital Management Inc. boosted its stake in Fred's by 0.5% in the third quarter. Horrell Capital Management Inc. now owns 26,990 shares of the company’s stock valued at $245,000 after buying an additional 128 shares during the period. Finally, Comerica Bank boosted its stake in Fred's by 5.2% in the fourth quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 37,279 shares of the company’s stock valued at $621,000 after buying an additional 1,844 shares during the period. 90.82% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Fred's Company Profile

Fred’s, Inc (Fred’s) is engaged in the sale of general merchandise through its retail discount stores and full service pharmacies. The Company sells general merchandise to its over 20 franchisees. The Company has approximately 660 retail stores, over 370 pharmacies, and approximately three specialty pharmacy facilities located in over 15 states mainly in the Southeastern United States.

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