Stock traders buy large volume of put options on Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ:RCII)

Rent-A-Center, Inc. (NASDAQ:RCII – Get Rating) saw unusual options trading activity on Thursday. Stock traders bought 3,197 put options on the company. This is a 194% increase from the typical daily volume of 1,087 puts.

Insider Activity at Rent-A-Center

Separately, director Jeffrey J. Brown acquired 1,223 shares in a trade on Tuesday, July 12. The shares were acquired at an average price of $20.69 per share, with a total value of $25,303.87. Following completion of the transaction, the administrator now owns 75,669 shares of the company, valued at approximately $1,565,591.61. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, accessible via this hyperlink. 11.00% of the shares are held by insiders.

Hedge funds weigh on Rent-A-Center

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently increased or reduced their stake in RCII. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. increased its stake in Rent-A-Center shares by 7.9% during the fourth quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 39,449 shares of the company worth $1,895,000 after acquiring 2,881 additional shares in the last quarter. ProShare Advisors LLC increased its stake in shares of Rent-A-Center by 62.9% during the fourth quarter. ProShare Advisors LLC now owns 16,299 shares of the company worth $783,000 after acquiring an additional 6,291 shares in the last quarter. Profund Advisors LLC increased its stake in shares of Rent-A-Center by 6.0% during the fourth quarter. Profund Advisors LLC now owns 6,371 shares of the company worth $306,000 after acquiring 359 additional shares in the last quarter. First Trust Advisors LP increased its stake in shares of Rent-A-Center by 75.1% during the fourth quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 172,620 shares of the company worth $8,293,000 after acquiring an additional 74,018 shares in the last quarter. Finally, CIBC Asset Management Inc. acquired a new stake in Rent-A-Center in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $264,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 83.45% of the company’s shares.

Analysts set new price targets

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Several equity analysts have recently commented on RCII shares. StockNews.com upgraded Rent-A-Center’s shares from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a Tuesday, Aug. 2 research note. KeyCorp lowered its price target on Rent-A-Center shares from $44.00 to $41.00 and set an “overweight” rating for the company in a Friday, Aug. 5 report. Finally, Stephens downgraded Rent-A-Center shares from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and set a price target of $42.00 for the company. in a report on Wednesday, June 29.

Rent-A-Center Inventory Performance

The NASDAQ RCII traded down $0.40 on Thursday, hitting $25.44. 23,564 shares were traded, against an average volume of 955,666. The company has a current ratio of 3.37, a quick ratio of 0.83 and a debt ratio of 2.45. Rent-A-Center has a one-year minimum of $18.88 and a one-year maximum of $66.12. The company’s 50-day simple moving average is $24.61 and its two-hundred-day simple moving average is $26.16. The company has a market capitalization of $1.51 billion, a PE ratio of 36.39 and a beta of 1.67.

Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ:RCII – Get Rating) last released quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 3. The company reported EPS of $1.15 for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.02 by $0.13. Rent-A-Center achieved a net margin of 1.02% and a return on equity of 46.90%. In the same quarter last year, the company earned earnings per share of $1.63. Analysts expect Rent-A-Center to post EPS of 4.2 for the current fiscal year.

Rent-A-Center Dividend Announcement

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, July 12. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, June 21 received a dividend of $0.34. The ex-dividend date was Friday, June 17. This represents an annualized dividend of $1.36 and a yield of 5.35%. Rent-A-Center’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 191.55%.

About Rent-A-Center

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Rent-A-Center, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, rents household durable goods to customers on a lease-to-own basis. The Company operates in four segments: Rent-A-Center Business, Acima, Mexico and Franchising. It offers furniture and accessories, household appliances, consumer electronics, computers, tablets and smartphones, tools, tires, handbags and other accessories under lease- purchase.

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