Ross Stores Target of Unusually Large Options Trading (NASDAQ:ROST)

Ross Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST) saw some unusual options trading on Thursday. Investors acquired 2,804 put options on the company. This represents an increase of approximately 1,255% compared to the typical daily volume of 207 put options.

ROST stock traded up $0.77 during trading on Friday, hitting $97.13. 1,311,619 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 2,244,981. The stock has a market cap of $35.69 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.80, a PEG ratio of 2.09 and a beta of 0.89. Ross Stores has a 52-week low of $75.91 and a 52-week high of $104.35. The company has a quick ratio of 0.82, a current ratio of 1.69 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.09.

Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, March 5th. The apparel retailer reported $1.20 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.13 by $0.07. The firm had revenue of $4.11 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.05 billion. Ross Stores had a return on equity of 49.58% and a net margin of 10.60%. As a group, sell-side analysts anticipate that Ross Stores will post 4.5 EPS for the current year.

Ross Stores announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share buyback plan on Tuesday, March 5th that permits the company to repurchase $2.55 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the apparel retailer to buy up to 7.3% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are usually an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

A number of analysts recently issued reports on the company. BidaskClub raised Ross Stores from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, January 10th. Zacks Investment Research raised Ross Stores from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $103.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Wednesday, January 23rd. Loop Capital raised their price objective on Ross Stores to $105.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, January 24th. Guggenheim reissued a “buy” rating and set a $105.00 price objective on shares of Ross Stores in a research report on Tuesday, March 5th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group raised their price objective on Ross Stores from $95.00 to $100.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Wednesday, March 6th. Eleven equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eighteen have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $97.42.

In other news, Chairman Michael Balmuth sold 25,689 shares of Ross Stores stock in a transaction on 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 transaction, the chairman now owns 51,998 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,719,858.46. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, insider James S. Fassio sold 50,000 shares of Ross Stores stock in a transaction on Wednesday, March 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $91.51, for a total value of $4,575,500.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 137,054 shares of company stock worth $12,504,328 in the last 90 days. 2.30% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of ROST. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund lifted its stake in Ross Stores by 8,178.6% in the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 13,859,040 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock valued at $167,000 after buying an additional 13,691,631 shares during the last quarter. Norges Bank purchased a new stake in Ross Stores in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $298,173,000. Capital International Investors lifted its stake in Ross Stores by 471.2% in the third quarter. Capital International Investors now owns 4,324,179 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock valued at $428,526,000 after buying an additional 3,567,179 shares during the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted its stake in Ross Stores by 33.8% in the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 13,907,770 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock valued at $1,378,259,000 after buying an additional 3,512,781 shares during the last quarter. Finally, AQR Capital Management LLC lifted its stake in Ross Stores by 74.9% in the third quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 4,965,542 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock valued at $492,085,000 after buying an additional 2,126,303 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 91.18% of the company’s stock.

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Ross Stores Company Profile

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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