Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Lithia Motors, Inc. (NYSE:LAD) from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday morning.
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.”
A number of other research firms also recently commented on LAD. Berenberg Bank began coverage on Lithia Motors in a report on Wednesday, October 4th. They set a hold rating and a $126.00 target price for the company. KeyCorp reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $130.00 target price (up previously from $119.00) on shares of Lithia Motors in a report on Wednesday, October 4th. Morgan Stanley reaffirmed an overweight rating and set a $116.00 target price (up previously from $106.00) on shares of Lithia Motors in a report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $125.00 target price on shares of Lithia Motors in a report on Thursday, August 3rd. Finally, Bank of America Corporation downgraded Lithia Motors from a neutral rating to an underperform rating and set a $92.00 target price for the company. in a report on Friday, June 16th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $116.00.
Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD) last released its earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $2.28 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.23 by $0.05. Lithia Motors had a return on equity of 21.66% and a net margin of 2.26%. The firm had revenue of $2.47 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.45 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $1.96 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 15.6% compared to the same quarter last year.
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In related news, CEO Bryan B. Deboer sold 20,820 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $104.13, for a total transaction of $2,167,986.60. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 101,004 shares in the company, valued at $10,517,546.52. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Sidney B. Deboer sold 71,756 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $103.40, for a total value of $7,419,570.40. Following the sale, 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 have sold 218,337 shares of company stock valued at $24,430,932 over the last quarter. 7.85% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. D.A. Davidson & CO. boosted its stake in Lithia Motors by 7.3% during the second quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 1,104 shares of the company’s stock worth $104,000 after buying an additional 75 shares during the last quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank boosted its stake in Lithia Motors by 9.6% during the second quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 1,198 shares of the company’s stock worth $113,000 after buying an additional 105 shares during the last quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio boosted its stake in Lithia Motors by 10.0% during the first quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 1,602 shares of the company’s stock worth $137,000 after buying an additional 146 shares during the last quarter. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. acquired a new position in Lithia Motors during the first quarter worth $176,000. Finally, Brighton Jones LLC acquired a new position in Lithia Motors during the second quarter worth $201,000. Hedge funds and other 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.
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