Lithia Motors Inc (LAD) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

Lithia Motors Inc (NYSE:LAD) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Thursday, May 4th.

According to Zacks, “Lithia Motors’ revenues and earnings in the first quarter of 2017 rose year over year. While earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate, revenues missed the same. The company raised its outlook for 2017 from the guidance previously provided. Lithia Motors is benefitting from store expansions. Moreover, the company undertakes regular capital deployment, boosting shareholder returns. Lithia Motors has outperformed the Zacks categorized Retail/Wholesale Auto/Truck industry over the last three months. However, Lithia Motors is under pressure due to extensive merchandise inventory. Falling used car prices and slower growth of new vehicle sales are other headwinds.”

Other analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. Jefferies Group LLC set a $115.00 price target on shares of Lithia Motors and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, March 16th. Susquehanna Bancshares Inc initiated coverage on shares of Lithia Motors in a report on Wednesday, February 1st. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $104.00 price target for the company. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $109.25.

Analyst Recommendations for Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD)

Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD) traded up 1.07% on Thursday, reaching $91.01. The company had a trading volume of 88,935 shares. Lithia Motors has a 12 month low of $68.70 and a 12 month high of $105.32. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $88.96 and a 200 day moving average of $93.35. The firm has a market capitalization of $2.28 billion, a PE ratio of 11.11 and a beta of 1.71.

Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, April 19th. The company reported $1.78 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.77 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $2.24 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.22 billion. Lithia Motors had a net margin of 2.31% and a return on equity of 22.67%. The company’s revenue was up 12.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.55 earnings per share. On average, analysts anticipate that Lithia Motors will post $8.32 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, May 26th. Stockholders of record on Friday, May 12th will be given a dividend of $0.27 per share. This represents a $1.08 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.20%. This is a boost from Lithia Motors’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.25. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, May 10th. Lithia Motors’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 13.33%.

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In related news, Director Susan O. Cain sold 1,182 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, February 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $101.82, for a total value of $120,351.24. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 12,824 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,305,739.68. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Sidney B. Deboer sold 35,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, April 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $97.00, for a total transaction of $3,395,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 79,625 shares in the company, valued at $7,723,625. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 64,080 shares of company stock worth $6,172,356. Insiders own 11.41% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Tyers Asset Management LLC purchased a new position in Lithia Motors during the fourth quarter valued at $103,000. Flinton Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in Lithia Motors during the fourth quarter valued at $125,000. Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. purchased a new position in Lithia Motors during the first quarter valued at $176,000. State of Alaska Department of Revenue raised its position in Lithia Motors by 4.3% in the first quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 2,640 shares of the company’s stock valued at $226,000 after buying an additional 110 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Engineers Gate Manager LP purchased a new position in Lithia Motors during the first quarter valued at $231,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 97.16% of the company’s stock.

Lithia Motors Company Profile

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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