NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Big Lots Inc  (BIG) were higher by 2.34% to $45.95 in mid-morning trading Tuesday, after the closeout retailer was upgraded to "overweight" from "equal weight" by analysts at Barclays earlier today.

The firm maintained its 12-month price target of $53.

Barclays analysts said the stock has pulled back, but company fundamentals are improving.

Analysts cited the recent pullback in shares, negative investor sentiment and the company's progress on its initiatives for the upgrade.

Columbus, Ohio-based Big Lots is a closeout retailer that operates 1,495 stores in 48 states.

The company operates in seven merchandise categories including food, consumables, soft home, hard home, furniture and home decor, as well as seasonal.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates BIG LOTS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate BIG LOTS INC (BIG) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, compelling growth in net income, reasonable valuation levels and expanding profit margins. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • BIG LOTS INC has improved earnings per share by 20.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, BIG LOTS INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.51 versus $2.44 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.87 versus $2.51).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Multiline Retail industry. The net income increased by 862.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $3.35 million to $32.21 million.
  • 39.37% is the gross profit margin for BIG LOTS INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 2.51% trails the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: BIG Ratings Report

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