Trade Report: Today: Piper Jaffray Cos. Upgraded Gap Inc. (GPS) to “Neutral”

Today: Piper Jaffray Cos. Upgraded Gap Inc. (GPS) to “Neutral”

Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) was upgraded by Piper Jaffray Cos. from an “underweight” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research report issued on Monday.

A number of other research firms have also weighed in on GPS. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reaffirmed a “sell” rating and issued a $22.00 price objective on shares of Gap in a research note on Friday, August 19th. Vetr raised Gap from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $27.90 price objective for the company in a research note on Wednesday, August 31st. RBC Capital Markets set a $23.00 price objective on Gap and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 13th. Nomura upped their price objective on Gap from $22.00 to $24.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research note on Friday, August 19th. Finally, Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. reaffirmed a “” rating and issued a $20.00 price objective on shares of Gap in a research note on Monday, August 22nd. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty-six have issued a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company. Gap presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $24.87.

Gap (NYSE:GPS) opened at 25.57 on Monday. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $27.00 and its 200 day moving average price is $23.45. Gap has a 52-week low of $17.00 and a 52-week high of $30.74. The company has a market capitalization of $10.20 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.22 and a beta of 1.06.

Gap (NYSE:GPS) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 17th. The apparel retailer reported $0.60 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.60. Gap had a return on equity of 32.19% and a net margin of 4.33%. The business earned $3.80 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.74 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.63 earnings per share. Gap’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.5% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts expect that Gap will post $1.94 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, January 25th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, January 4th will be given a dividend of $0.23 per share. This represents a $0.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.60%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 30th. Gap’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 55.09%.

In related news, President Jeff Kirwan sold 11,406 shares of Gap stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $25.38, for a total value of $289,484.28. Following the sale, the president now directly owns 19,094 shares in the company, valued at approximately $484,605.72. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, EVP Paul Joseph Chapman sold 6,764 shares of Gap stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $24.99, for a total value of $169,032.36. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 30.00% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of GPS. Pacer Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in Gap by 11.7% in the second quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 5,777 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock valued at $123,000 after buying an additional 606 shares during the last quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC boosted its stake in Gap by 22.1% in the second quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 5,869 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock valued at $125,000 after buying an additional 1,062 shares during the last quarter. Americafirst Capital Management LLC purchased a new stake in Gap during the second quarter valued at about $139,000. Toronto Dominion Bank boosted its stake in Gap by 362.7% in the third quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 6,691 shares of the apparel retailer’s stock valued at $149,000 after buying an additional 5,245 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Meeder Asset Management Inc. purchased a new stake in Gap during the third quarter valued at about $161,000. Institutional investors own 58.00% of the company’s stock.

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