NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Big Lots (BIG) - Get Report  shares are spiking 1.67% to $44.39 on Thursday morning as MKM Partners analysts are optimistic about the company's upcoming 2016 first quarter earnings due out Friday morning. 

In a note issued to investors today, the firm reiterated its "buy" rating on the stock with a $162 price target.

Year-over-year, analysts are expecting the company's profit and revenue to grow. 

Wall Street is looking for earnings of 70 cents a share on revenue of $1.3 billion for the recent quarter, up from a year ago when the company earned 60 cents a share on revenue of $1.28 billion. 

"We believe Big Lots' new e-commerce site is off to a good start but continue to expect a go-slow, test-and learn approach, and we think the financial impact is sufficiently incorporated into guidance," MKM Partners noted.

Overall, analysts believe solid underlying trends are intact but anticipate seeing some risk from cool weather in the East in late-March and April.

Based in Columbus, OH, Big Lots operates as a non-traditional, discount retailer in the U.S.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings currently has a "Buy" rating on the stock with a letter grade of B+.

The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and increase in net income. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this article's author.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: BIG

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