Rent-A-Center Inc. (NASDAQ:RCII) Short Interest Up 15.8% in July

Rent-A-Center Inc. (NASDAQ:RCII) was the recipient of a large growth in short interest in July. As of July 31st, there was short interest totalling 18,575,557 shares, a growth of 15.8% from the July 14th total of 16,046,793 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 1,776,230 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 10.5 days. Approximately 36.8% of the company’s stock are short sold.

Shares of Rent-A-Center (RCII) opened at 12.96 on Friday. Rent-A-Center has a one year low of $7.76 and a one year high of $13.89. The company’s market capitalization is $690.78 million. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $12.40 and a 200-day moving average price of $10.67.

Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ:RCII) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, July 26th. The company reported ($0.01) earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.07 by $0.08. Rent-A-Center had a negative net margin of 5.57% and a negative return on equity of 43.47%. The business had revenue of $667.64 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $667.04 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.41 EPS. Rent-A-Center’s revenue for the quarter was down 10.9% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts predict that Rent-A-Center will post $0.06 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, July 20th. Investors of record on Monday, July 3rd were paid a dividend of $0.08 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, June 29th. This represents a $0.32 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.47%.

Several research firms recently commented on RCII. BidaskClub raised Rent-A-Center from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report on Saturday, August 5th. Zacks Investment Research raised Rent-A-Center from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, July 28th. Stifel Nicolaus reissued a “hold” rating and set a $13.00 price target (up from $11.50) on shares of Rent-A-Center in a research report on Friday, July 28th. Loop Capital reissued a “sell” rating and set a $8.00 price target on shares of Rent-A-Center in a research report on Tuesday, July 18th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reduced their price target on Rent-A-Center from $12.00 to $9.00 and set a “hold” rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, May 3rd. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating, two have given a buy rating and two have given a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $11.00.

In related news, Director Steven L. Pepper purchased 45,000 shares of Rent-A-Center stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 23rd. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $10.93 per share, with a total value of $491,850.00. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Insiders own 3.40% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in RCII. Ameriprise Financial Inc. increased its stake in shares of Rent-A-Center by 29.3% in the second quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 410,577 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,811,000 after buying an additional 93,049 shares in the last quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. increased its stake in shares of Rent-A-Center by 6.8% in the second quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 71,919 shares of the company’s stock worth $843,000 after buying an additional 4,600 shares in the last quarter. AXA purchased a new stake in shares of Rent-A-Center during the second quarter worth approximately $335,000. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its stake in shares of Rent-A-Center by 1,124.8% in the second quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 1,229,142 shares of the company’s stock worth $14,405,000 after buying an additional 1,128,785 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Brandes Investment Partners LP increased its stake in shares of Rent-A-Center by 2.4% in the second quarter. Brandes Investment Partners LP now owns 2,072,495 shares of the company’s stock worth $24,290,000 after buying an additional 49,068 shares in the last quarter.

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Rent-A-Center Company Profile

Rent-A-Center, Inc is a rent-to-own operator in North America. The Company provides an opportunity to obtain ownership of products, such as consumer electronics, appliances, computers (including tablets), smartphones and furniture (including accessories), under rental purchase agreements. The Company operates in four segments: Core U.S., Acceptance Now, Mexico, and Franchising.

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