Big Lots, Inc. (NYSE:BIG) Increases Dividend After Reporting Better Than Expected Fourth Quarter Earnings

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Big Lots, Inc. (NYSE:BIG) shares are up in pre-market trading this morning as the company has narrowed their loss in the fourth quarter and lifted their dividend. The company reported a loss of $1.5 million or $0.03 per share compared to a loss of 3.4 million and $0.06 per share a year ago. Revenue for the quarter was up slightly to $1.12 billion and gross margins rose from 38.9% to 39.4%.

Big Lots, Inc. (NYSE:BIG) has also decided to raise their quarterly dividend from $0.17 per share to $0.19 per share. This dividend will be issued on December 31st to shareholders of record as of December 17th. The stock decreased 5.40% or $2.44 on December 4, hitting $42.72. Approximately 1,371 shares traded hands. BIG shares have declined 7.35% since May 1, 2015 and are currently downtrending. It has underperformed the S&P500 by 7.15%.

From a total of 5 analysts covering Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) stock, 3 rate it a “Buy”, 0 a “Sell”, and 2 a “Hold”. This means that 60% of the ratings are positive. The highest target price is $58.0 while the lowest target price is $47. The mean of all analyst targets is $53.80 which is 25.94% above today’s ($42.72) stock price. Big Lots was the topic of 10 analyst reports since August 11, 2015 according to the firm StockzIntelligence Inc. Citigroup initiated shares on September 25 with a “Buy” rating. Wedbush maintained BIG stock in a recent report from September 1 with a “Buy” rating. Finally, Zacks upgraded the stock to a “Sell” rating in a report they issued on an August 25.

The institutional sentiment increased to 1.45 in Q2 2015. It’s up 0.27, from 1.18 in 2015Q1. The ratio increased, as 35 funds sold all their Big Lots, Inc. shares they owned while 75 reduced their positions. 36 funds bought stakes while 123 increased their total positions. Institutions now own 62.47 million shares which is 6.86% more than the previous share count of 58.46 million in 2015Q1.

Westport Asset Management Inc holds 9.43% of its total portfolio in Big Lots, Inc., equating to 278,882 shares. Tyvor Capital Llc owns 313,281 shares representing 5.06% of their total US portfolio. Moreover, Snow Capital Management Lp has 2.32% of their total portfolio invested in the company, equating to 1.76 million shares. The Connecticut-based Westport Advisers Llc has a total of 2.25% of their portfolio invested in the stock. Sasco Capital Inc Ct, a Connecticut-based fund reported 2.65 million shares owned.

Since March 12, 2015, the stock had 0 insider buys, and 3 insider sales for a total of $1.14 million in net activity. Mallott Philip E sold 5,000 shares worth $250,000. Bachmann Lisa M sold 16,563 shares worth $811,587. Campisi David J sold 1,600 shares worth $75,488. Hayes Peter J. sold 2,000 shares worth $100,940. The insider Chene Richard R sold 3,183 shares worth $160,701.

Big Lots, Inc. is a United States-based discount retailer. The company has a market cap of $2.12 billion. As of December 31, 2014, the Company, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, operated 1,460 stores in 48 states. It has 16.15 P/E ratio. The Company’s Food category includes beverage and grocery, candy and snacks, and specialty foods.

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