Shares of Fred’s, Inc. (NASDAQ:FRED) fell 6.2% on Wednesday . The company traded as low as $0.45 and last traded at $0.45. 734,004 shares traded hands during mid-day trading, an increase of 3% from the average session volume of 713,315 shares. The stock had previously closed at $0.48.

Separately, ValuEngine upgraded shares of Fred’s from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, April 1st.

The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.09, a quick ratio of 0.32 and a current ratio of 1.47.

Fred’s declared that its board has approved a stock buyback plan on Wednesday, January 30th that authorizes the company to buyback 3,500,000 shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are generally an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in FRED. Morgan Stanley raised its stake in Fred’s by 3,270.7% during the 1st quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 394,471 shares of the company’s stock valued at $975,000 after purchasing an additional 382,768 shares during the last quarter. Royce & Associates LP raised its stake in Fred’s by 15.2% during the 4th quarter. Royce & Associates LP now owns 1,818,269 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,437,000 after purchasing an additional 239,900 shares during the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC raised its stake in Fred’s by 35.9% during the 1st quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 800,945 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,978,000 after purchasing an additional 211,400 shares during the last quarter. D. E. Shaw & Co. Inc. acquired a new position in Fred’s during the 4th quarter valued at $135,000. Finally, Virtu Financial LLC acquired a new position in Fred’s during the 4th quarter valued at $77,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 68.77% of the company’s stock.

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About Fred’s (NASDAQ:FRED)

Fred's, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, sells general merchandise through its retail discount stores and full service pharmacies. The company, through its stores, offers health, beauty, and personal care products; household cleaning supplies, disposable diapers, pet foods, and paper products; and various general merchandise, and food and beverage products to low, middle, and fixed income families located in small- to medium-sized towns.

Further Reading: What is the return on assets (ROA) ratio?

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