Fred’s, Inc. (NASDAQ:FRED) Short Interest Up 30.2% in July

Fred’s, Inc. (NASDAQ:FRED) was the target of a significant increase in short interest during the month of July. As of July 14th, there was short interest totalling 20,180,222 shares, an increase of 30.2% from the June 30th total of 15,500,069 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 3,691,456 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 5.5 days. Approximately 56.7% of the shares of the company are sold short.

Shares of Fred’s (FRED) opened at 6.04 on Friday. The firm’s market capitalization is $229.83 million. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $6.65 and its 200 day moving average price is $12.32. Fred’s has a one year low of $5.62 and a one year high of $21.77.

Fred’s (NASDAQ:FRED) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, June 6th. The company reported ($0.06) earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of ($0.03) by $0.03. Fred’s had a negative return on equity of 3.93% and a negative net margin of 4.94%. The firm had revenue of $532.32 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $520.28 million. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.03 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts expect that Fred’s will post ($0.41) EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 1st will be given a $0.06 dividend. This represents a $0.24 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.97%. Fred’s’s payout ratio is currently -8.54%.

A number of equities analysts have recently issued reports on the stock. ValuEngine lowered shares of Fred’s from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday, June 2nd. TheStreet lowered shares of Fred’s from a “c-” rating to a “d” rating in a research report on Monday, July 3rd. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG lowered their target price on shares of Fred’s from $16.00 to $8.00 and set a “hold” rating on the stock in a research report on Thursday, June 29th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $14.25.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Horrell Capital Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Fred’s by 0.4% in the first quarter. Horrell Capital Management Inc. now owns 27,260 shares of the company’s stock valued at $357,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the last quarter. Louisiana State Employees Retirement System raised its position in shares of Fred’s by 1.4% in the first quarter. Louisiana State Employees Retirement System now owns 14,300 shares of the company’s stock valued at $187,000 after buying an additional 200 shares during the last quarter. Arizona State Retirement System raised its position in shares of Fred’s by 1.7% in the first quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 18,375 shares of the company’s stock valued at $241,000 after buying an additional 300 shares during the last quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company raised its position in shares of Fred’s by 1.4% in the second quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 28,416 shares of the company’s stock valued at $263,000 after buying an additional 405 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Mason Street Advisors LLC raised its position in shares of Fred’s by 7.2% in the first quarter. Mason Street Advisors LLC now owns 8,225 shares of the company’s stock valued at $108,000 after buying an additional 553 shares during the last quarter.

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Fred’s Company Profile

Fred’s, Inc (Fred’s) is engaged in the sale of general merchandise through its retail discount stores and full service pharmacies. The Company sells general merchandise to its over 20 franchisees. The Company has approximately 660 retail stores, over 370 pharmacies, and approximately three specialty pharmacy facilities located in over 15 states mainly in the Southeastern United States.

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