Lithia Motors (LAD) Stock Rating Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research
Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Tuesday.
According to Zacks, “Lithia Motors is expected to benefit from the frequent acquisitions and store openings it has been undertaking. In August, the company acquired Downtown Los Angeles Auto Group (“DTLA”). DTLA, which comprises of stores of Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Porsche, Toyota, and Volkswagen situated in downtown Los Angeles and a Nissan store in Carson. Also, its regular share repurchases programs and cash dividend payments will boost the shareholders’ value. Lithia Motors has also provided a strong fiscal 2017 guidance. However, high merchandise inventory, a continuous fall of used car prices in all markets and declining sales volume of new vehicles are few concerns currently faced by the company.”
Several other brokerages also recently weighed in on LAD. KeyCorp restated a “buy” rating and set a $130.00 price target on shares of Lithia Motors in a report on Monday, November 13th. Berenberg Bank assumed coverage on Lithia Motors in a report on Wednesday, October 4th. They set a “hold” rating and a $126.00 price target on the stock. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $116.29.
Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The company reported $2.18 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.37 by ($0.19). Lithia Motors had a return on equity of 21.02% and a net margin of 2.14%. The firm had revenue of $2.69 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.62 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $2.06 EPS. Lithia Motors’s revenue was up 18.7% on a year-over-year basis. analysts forecast that Lithia Motors will post 8.34 earnings per share for the current year.
In other news, Director Kenneth E. Roberts sold 534 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, December 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $122.62, for a total value of $65,479.08. Following the transaction, the director now owns 115,064 shares in the company, valued at approximately $14,109,147.68. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Sidney B. Deboer sold 831 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $113.32, for a total value of $94,168.92. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 433 shares in the company, valued at approximately $49,067.56. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 71,429 shares of company stock worth $8,657,561. Company insiders own 7.85% of the company’s stock.
Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in LAD. Koch Industries Inc. purchased a new position in Lithia Motors during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $201,000. Copeland Capital Management LLC grew its stake in Lithia Motors by 1.4% during the 3rd quarter. Copeland Capital Management LLC now owns 164,869 shares of the company’s stock worth $19,835,000 after buying an additional 2,204 shares during the last quarter. Bridge City Capital LLC grew its stake in Lithia Motors by 8.7% during the 3rd quarter. Bridge City Capital LLC now owns 22,041 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,652,000 after buying an additional 1,763 shares during the last quarter. Boston Partners grew its stake in Lithia Motors by 2.7% during the 3rd quarter. Boston Partners now owns 545,701 shares of the company’s stock worth $65,653,000 after buying an additional 14,313 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Wasatch Advisors Inc. purchased a new position in Lithia Motors during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $6,419,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds 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.
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