Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE:WSM) Sees Large Growth in Short Interest

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE:WSM) was the target of a large increase in short interest in May. As of May 15th, there was short interest totalling 18,870,100 shares, an increase of 6.9% from the April 15th total of 17,651,500 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 1,580,000 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 11.9 days. Approximately 24.3% of the company’s stock are sold short.

In other news, insider Marta Benson sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.60, for a total transaction of $308,000.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 17,061 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,050,957.60. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director Sabrina Simmons sold 1,750 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $60.08, for a total transaction of $105,140.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 10,915 shares in the company, valued at approximately $655,773.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.87% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. FMR LLC raised its holdings in shares of Williams-Sonoma by 48.8% during the 4th quarter. FMR LLC now owns 6,115,918 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $308,548,000 after acquiring an additional 2,004,426 shares in the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund grew its stake in Williams-Sonoma by 5,231.1% in the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 1,617,629 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $32,000 after purchasing an additional 1,587,286 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank acquired a new position in Williams-Sonoma in the fourth quarter worth about $56,083,000. Argent Capital Management LLC grew its stake in Williams-Sonoma by 153.7% in the first quarter. Argent Capital Management LLC now owns 885,056 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $49,802,000 after purchasing an additional 536,229 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc grew its stake in Williams-Sonoma by 7.6% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 7,270,491 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $477,817,000 after purchasing an additional 515,402 shares in the last quarter.

Several analysts have recently commented on WSM shares. Royal Bank of Canada increased their price target on shares of Williams-Sonoma to $60.00 and gave the company a “sector perform” rating in a research note on Thursday, March 21st. Gordon Haskett raised shares of Williams-Sonoma from a “hold” rating to an “accumulate” rating and set a $68.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Thursday, June 13th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Booz Allen Hamilton from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $71.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Friday, June 28th. Citigroup set a $27.00 price objective on shares of StoneCo and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, May 31st. Finally, Berenberg Bank increased their price objective on shares of Hiscox from GBX 1,569 ($20.50) to GBX 1,581 ($20.66) and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, May 9th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fifteen have assigned a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. Williams-Sonoma currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $60.81.

Shares of NYSE:WSM traded up $1.69 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $65.44. 1,499,948 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,317,740. Williams-Sonoma has a 52 week low of $45.01 and a 52 week high of $73.99. The company has a current ratio of 1.33, a quick ratio of 0.30 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.28. The company has a market capitalization of $5.01 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.67, a PEG ratio of 1.89 and a beta of 0.86. The stock’s 50 day simple moving average is $60.16.

Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 30th. The specialty retailer reported $0.81 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.69 by $0.12. Williams-Sonoma had a return on equity of 33.75% and a net margin of 5.98%. The business had revenue of $1.24 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.23 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.67 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.2% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts forecast that Williams-Sonoma will post 4.67 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, August 30th. Shareholders of record on Friday, July 26th will be paid a $0.48 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, July 25th. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.93%. Williams-Sonoma’s payout ratio is 43.05%.

About Williams-Sonoma

Williams-Sonoma, Inc operates as a multi-channel specialty retailer of various products for home. It operates through two segments, E-commerce and Retail. The company offers cooking, dining, and entertaining products, including cookware, tools, electrics, cutlery, tabletop and bar, outdoor, furniture, and a library of cookbooks under the Williams Sonoma brand, as well as home furnishings and decorative accessories under the Williams Sonoma Home brand; and furniture, bedding, bathroom accessories, rugs, curtains, lighting, tabletop, outdoor, and decorative accessories under the Pottery Barn brand.

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