ValuEngine Lowers Fred’s (FRED) to Hold

Fred’s (NASDAQ:FRED) was downgraded by research analysts at ValuEngine from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Monday, February 4th.

Fred’s stock traded up $0.06 during midday trading on Monday, hitting $2.99. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 236,629 shares, compared to its average volume of 218,019. Fred’s has a 1-year low of $1.30 and a 1-year high of $3.58. The company has a current ratio of 1.89, a quick ratio of 0.54 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.78.

Fred’s (NASDAQ:FRED) last released its earnings results on Thursday, December 13th. The company reported ($0.83) EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of ($0.39) by ($0.44). Fred’s had a negative net margin of 6.95% and a negative return on equity of 67.26%. The firm had revenue of $306.41 million during the quarter.

Fred’s declared that its board has approved a stock repurchase plan on Wednesday, January 30th that permits the company to repurchase 3,500,000 outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are generally an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, Director Thomas E. Zacharias bought 18,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, December 26th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $1.79 per share, with a total value of $32,220.00. Following the acquisition, the director now directly owns 81,452 shares in the company, valued at $145,799.08. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. 27.20% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Two Sigma Securities LLC bought a new stake in shares of Fred’s during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $43,000. Citigroup Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Fred’s by 130.1% during the 4th quarter. Citigroup Inc. now owns 35,900 shares of the company’s stock valued at $68,000 after purchasing an additional 20,300 shares during the last quarter. Virtu Financial LLC bought a new stake in shares of Fred’s during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $77,000. D. E. Shaw & Co. Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Fred’s during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $135,000. Finally, Jane Street Group LLC bought a new stake in shares of Fred’s during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $177,000. 61.37% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Fred’s

Fred's, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, sells general merchandise through its retail discount stores and full service pharmacies. The company, through its stores, offers health, beauty, and personal care products; household cleaning supplies, disposable diapers, pet foods, and paper products; and various general merchandise, and food and beverage products to low, middle, and fixed income families located in small- to medium-sized towns.

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