Aaron’s (AAN) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Aaron’s (NYSE:AAN) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Tuesday morning, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Aaron’s has surpassed the industry in the past year owing to strength in Aaron’s Progressive business over the last several quarters. This strong performance is backed by robust growth in number of active doors, invoice volume and a solid customer base. Moreover, management provided a strong view for 2019. The company is also witnessing positive trends at the Aaron’s business backed by the transformation initiatives. Nevertheless, soft comps trend at the company-operated stores is a reason of worry. This can be attributed to the company’s soft customer count on a same-store basis and sluggish store traffic. Comps at company-operated stores dipped 0.5% in fourth-quarter 2018. Moreover, the company reported lower-than-expected earnings and sales in the fourth quarter. Moreover, stiff competition remains an added concern. The company’s earnings estimates remain stable ahead of first quarter earnings.”

Other equities research analysts have also issued reports about the stock. Northcoast Research raised shares of Aaron’s from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $65.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Thursday, February 21st. Jefferies Financial Group reissued a buy rating and set a $65.00 price objective on shares of Aaron’s in a report on Monday, February 18th. Raymond James reissued a buy rating and set a $61.00 price objective on shares of Aaron’s in a report on Sunday, February 17th. Stephens set a $57.00 price objective on shares of Aaron’s and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Friday, February 15th. Finally, KeyCorp reissued a buy rating and set a $68.00 price objective on shares of Aaron’s in a report on Friday, February 15th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the stock. Aaron’s presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $62.25.

Shares of AAN opened at $53.17 on Tuesday. The firm has a market cap of $3.57 billion, a PE ratio of 15.82, a P/E/G ratio of 0.96 and a beta of 0.46. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.24, a quick ratio of 0.49 and a current ratio of 2.55. Aaron’s has a 1-year low of $38.77 and a 1-year high of $56.04.

Aaron’s (NYSE:AAN) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 14th. The company reported $1.02 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.03 by ($0.01). The company had revenue of $993.20 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $966.29 million. Aaron’s had a net margin of 5.12% and a return on equity of 13.51%. Aaron’s’s quarterly revenue was up 12.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.65 earnings per share. Sell-side analysts anticipate that Aaron’s will post 3.75 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, April 5th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, March 19th were issued a $0.035 dividend. This represents a $0.14 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.26%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, March 18th. Aaron’s’s payout ratio is 4.17%.

In other Aaron’s news, CEO Ryan K. Woodley sold 14,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, March 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.84, for a total value of $697,760.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 122,010 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,080,978.40. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CFO Steven A. Michaels sold 21,250 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, March 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.05, for a total transaction of $1,084,812.50. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 70,154 shares in the company, valued at $3,581,361.70. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders sold 124,853 shares of company stock worth $6,344,388. 2.78% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in Aaron’s by 22.1% in the first quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 28,148 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,481,000 after purchasing an additional 5,100 shares during the last quarter. First Citizens Bank & Trust Co. raised its position in shares of Aaron’s by 37.8% during the 1st quarter. First Citizens Bank & Trust Co. now owns 8,645 shares of the company’s stock worth $455,000 after purchasing an additional 2,370 shares during the last quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue acquired a new position in shares of Aaron’s during the 1st quarter worth about $149,000. CX Institutional acquired a new position in shares of Aaron’s during the 1st quarter worth about $32,000. Finally, First Hawaiian Bank raised its position in shares of Aaron’s by 50.4% during the 1st quarter. First Hawaiian Bank now owns 10,520 shares of the company’s stock worth $553,000 after purchasing an additional 3,526 shares during the last quarter.

About Aaron’s

Aaron's, Inc operates as an omnichannel provider of lease-purchase solutions to underserved and credit-challenged customers. It operates in three segments: Progressive Leasing, Aaron's Business, and DAMI. The company also engages in the sale, lease ownership, and specialty retailing of furniture, consumer electronics, home appliances, and accessories.

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