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

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Lithia Motors’ decline in new vehicles, owing to distribution disruption and availability of abundant used-vehicles in the market, are hampering sales. The company also faces strong competition publicly and privately-owned dealerships. Rising competition and increasing price transparency can lead to lower selling prices, thus affecting the company’s profits. Over the past year, shares of the company have underperformed the industry it belongs to. However, Lithia Motors is expected to benefit from its expansion through acquisitions and store openings in 2019.”

LAD has been the subject of a number of other research reports. Seaport Global Securities began coverage on shares of Lithia Motors in a report on Wednesday, February 13th. They issued a buy rating and a $110.00 price objective for the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. began coverage on shares of Lithia Motors in a report on Tuesday, February 19th. They issued an overweight rating and a $112.00 price objective for the company. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Lithia Motors from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a report on Tuesday, February 19th. TheStreet upgraded shares of Lithia Motors from a c+ rating to a b- rating in a report on Tuesday, January 29th. Finally, Morgan Stanley raised their price objective on shares of Lithia Motors from $107.00 to $108.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, November 14th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has assigned a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $106.29.

LAD opened at $89.04 on Tuesday. Lithia Motors has a 1-year low of $67.90 and a 1-year high of $107.68. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.13, a quick ratio of 0.25 and a current ratio of 1.20. The company has a market capitalization of $2.07 billion, a PE ratio of 8.92, a P/E/G ratio of 1.03 and a beta of 1.19.

Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, February 13th. The company reported $2.57 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.45 by $0.12. Lithia Motors had a net margin of 2.25% and a return on equity of 20.82%. The company had revenue of $2.97 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.01 billion. During the same period last year, the company posted $2.15 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 10.0% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts expect that Lithia Motors will post 10.24 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 22nd. Investors of record on Friday, March 8th will be issued a $0.29 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 7th. This represents a $1.16 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.30%. Lithia Motors’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 11.62%.

In related news, Director Susan O. Cain sold 1,462 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $87.15, for a total value of $127,413.30. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 10,849 shares in the company, valued at approximately $945,490.35. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CEO Bryan B. Deboer sold 3,835 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, February 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $90.00, for a total transaction of $345,150.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 153,285 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $13,795,650. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 6.18% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in LAD. US Bancorp DE raised its holdings in Lithia Motors by 27.7% during the 3rd quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 3,367 shares of the company’s stock worth $275,000 after purchasing an additional 730 shares during the last quarter. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL raised its holdings in Lithia Motors by 53.1% during the 3rd quarter. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL now owns 4,900 shares of the company’s stock worth $400,000 after purchasing an additional 1,700 shares during the last quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC raised its holdings in Lithia Motors by 96.5% during the 3rd quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC now owns 7,988 shares of the company’s stock worth $652,000 after purchasing an additional 3,922 shares during the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its holdings in Lithia Motors by 23.2% during the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 606,370 shares of the company’s stock worth $49,516,000 after purchasing an additional 114,014 shares during the last quarter. Finally, MML Investors Services LLC bought a new position in Lithia Motors during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $231,000.

Lithia Motors Company Profile

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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