Lithia Motors, Inc. (NYSE:LAD) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Lithia Motors is expected to benefit from the frequent acquisitions and store openings it has been undertaking. The company has provided a positive outlook for fiscal 2017. Also, its active share repurchase policy will boost its shareholder confidence in the company. Moreover, in the last six months, its shares have outperformed the industry it belongs to. However, Lithia Motors’ extensive merchandise inventory, the year-over-year decline in the gross profit of new vehicles and falling of used car prices are few of its concerns. Also, stiff competition and increasing price transparency may lead to decrease in sales for the company.”

LAD has been the subject of a number of other research reports. Bank of America Corporation downgraded shares of Lithia Motors from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating and set a $92.00 price objective for the company. in a report on Friday, June 16th. Morgan Stanley restated an “overweight” rating and issued a $116.00 target price (up from $106.00) on shares of Lithia Motors in a research report on Wednesday, August 2nd. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Lithia Motors from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 5th. Berenberg Bank assumed coverage on shares of Lithia Motors in a research report on Wednesday, October 4th. They issued a “hold” rating and a $126.00 target price for the company. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC restated a “buy” rating and issued a $115.00 target price on shares of Lithia Motors in a research report on Wednesday, June 28th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Lithia Motors currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $116.00.

Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $2.28 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.23 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $2.47 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.45 billion. Lithia Motors had a net margin of 2.26% and a return on equity of 21.66%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 15.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $1.96 EPS.

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In other news, Director Susan O. Cain sold 1,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $105.64, for a total value of $105,640.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 12,242 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,293,244.88. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, Director Sidney B. Deboer sold 71,756 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $103.40, for a total transaction of $7,419,570.40. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 28,668 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,964,271.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 218,337 shares of company stock valued at $24,430,932 over the last 90 days. Corporate insiders own 7.85% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Eqis Capital Management Inc. acquired a new position in Lithia Motors during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $202,000. Cetera Investment Advisers acquired a new position in Lithia Motors during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $594,000. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio increased its position in Lithia Motors by 12.7% during the 2nd quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 1,806 shares of the company’s stock worth $170,000 after purchasing an additional 204 shares in the last quarter. Koch Industries Inc. acquired a new position in Lithia Motors during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $201,000. Finally, Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new position in Lithia Motors during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $484,000. Institutional investors own 98.47% of the company’s stock.

About Lithia Motors

Lithia Motors, Inc is an operator of automotive franchises and a retailer of new and used vehicles and related services. As of February 28, 2017, it offered 30 brands of new vehicles and all brands of used vehicles in 154 stores in the United States and online at Lithia.com, DCHauto.com and CarboneCars.com.

Analyst Recommendations for Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD)

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