Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Monday.
According to Zacks, “Lithia Motors’ earnings and revenues beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the fourth quarter. Compared to the year-ago figures, both earnings per share and revenues were higher. The company is expected to benefit from the frequent acquisitions and store openings. In March, the company announced acquisition of six auto stores from Prestige Family of Fine Cars in Bergen County, NJ, which are likely to generate steady state revenues of $900 million, annually. Also, in order to boost shareholder confidence, the company frequently engages in dividend payouts and share-repurchase programs. Lithia Motors has also provided a strong fiscal 2018 guidance. However, extensive merchandise inventory, continuous rise in SG&A expenses, rising competition and pricing transparency are few concerns for Lithia Motors. Also, in last three months, its shares have underperformed the industry it belongs to.”
LAD has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Bank of America upgraded Lithia Motors from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $128.00 price target on the stock in a report on Monday, January 8th. KeyCorp restated a “buy” rating and set a $130.00 price target on shares of Lithia Motors in a report on Monday, November 13th. Stephens restated a “buy” rating on shares of Lithia Motors in a report on Thursday, February 15th. Finally, Buckingham Research reduced their price target on Lithia Motors from $137.00 to $131.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, February 15th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $127.86.
Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, February 14th. The company reported $2.15 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.09 by $0.06. Lithia Motors had a return on equity of 20.81% and a net margin of 2.43%. The company had revenue of $2.70 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.70 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.86 EPS. Lithia Motors’s revenue was up 18.0% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts forecast that Lithia Motors will post 10.31 earnings per share for the current year.
In other Lithia Motors news, Director Kenneth E. Roberts sold 5,000 shares of Lithia Motors stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, January 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $126.00, for a total transaction of $630,000.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 105,064 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $13,238,064. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Insiders own 7.85% of the company’s stock.
A number of institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of LAD. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio boosted 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 valued at $170,000 after acquiring an additional 204 shares in the last quarter. Crossmark Global Holdings Inc. bought a new stake in Lithia Motors during the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $900,000. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board bought a new stake in Lithia Motors during the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $144,000. State Board of Administration of Florida Retirement System boosted its position in Lithia Motors by 26.7% during the 3rd quarter. State Board of Administration of Florida Retirement System now owns 15,477 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,862,000 after acquiring an additional 3,265 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Principal Financial Group Inc. boosted its position in Lithia Motors by 0.7% during the 3rd quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 185,335 shares of the company’s stock valued at $22,298,000 after acquiring an additional 1,251 shares in the last quarter.
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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