Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD) Downgraded to “Underperform” at Bank of America

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Bank of America lowered shares of Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD) from a neutral rating to an underperform rating in a research report sent to investors on Friday morning, BenzingaRatingsTable reports.

Several other research firms also recently issued reports on LAD. Morgan Stanley upped their price objective on shares of Lithia Motors from $129.00 to $144.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a report on Friday, August 2nd. Longbow Research reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $132.00 price objective on shares of Lithia Motors in a report on Sunday, July 7th. Buckingham Research downgraded shares of Lithia Motors from a buy rating to a neutral rating and upped their price objective for the stock from $120.00 to $125.00 in a report on Monday, July 8th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upped their price objective on shares of Lithia Motors from $117.00 to $122.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a report on Tuesday, July 9th. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded shares of Lithia Motors from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, August 1st. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company. Lithia Motors presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $124.44.

LAD stock opened at $128.15 on Friday. The company has a quick ratio of 0.23, a current ratio of 1.16 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.23. The company has a market capitalization of $3.08 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.84, a P/E/G ratio of 0.99 and a beta of 1.13. Lithia Motors has a 12 month low of $67.90 and a 12 month high of $139.18. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $130.52 and a two-hundred day moving average of $112.79.

Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, July 24th. The company reported $2.95 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.87 by $0.08. The company had revenue of $3.22 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.19 billion. Lithia Motors had a net margin of 2.24% and a return on equity of 20.74%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $2.52 earnings per share. On average, research analysts expect that Lithia Motors will post 11.26 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, August 23rd. Investors of record on Friday, August 9th were issued a dividend of $0.30 per share. This represents a $1.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.94%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 8th. Lithia Motors’s dividend payout ratio is currently 12.02%.

In other Lithia Motors news, Director Kenneth E. Roberts sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, August 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $131.27, for a total value of $656,350.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 104,203 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $13,678,727.81. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Louis Miramontes sold 450 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $131.34, for a total transaction of $59,103.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 2,746 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $360,659.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 6,173 shares of company stock valued at $812,899. 5.21% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. BlackRock Inc. boosted its holdings in Lithia Motors by 6.4% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 3,602,153 shares of the company’s stock valued at $427,863,000 after purchasing an additional 217,265 shares during the period. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP boosted its holdings in Lithia Motors by 17.8% in the 4th quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 1,323,683 shares of the company’s stock valued at $101,036,000 after purchasing an additional 200,381 shares during the period. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its holdings in Lithia Motors by 15.6% in the 2nd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 575,896 shares of the company’s stock valued at $68,957,000 after purchasing an additional 77,705 shares during the period. Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its holdings in Lithia Motors by 4.6% in the 2nd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 417,152 shares of the company’s stock valued at $49,550,000 after purchasing an additional 18,226 shares during the period. Finally, Northern Trust Corp boosted its holdings in Lithia Motors by 9.2% in the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 338,081 shares of the company’s stock valued at $40,158,000 after purchasing an additional 28,407 shares during the period.

About Lithia Motors

Lithia Motors, Inc operates automotive franchises, and retails new and used vehicles in the United States. The company operates in three segments: Domestic, Import, and Luxury. It sells new and used cars, replacement parts, vehicle service contracts, vehicle protection products, and credit insurance products; provides vehicle maintenance, warranty, paint, and repair services; and arranges related financing.

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Analyst Recommendations for Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD)

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