Lithia Motors (LAD) Lifted to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Wednesday. They currently have $110.00 price objective on the stock.

According to Zacks, “In first-quarter 2018, Lithia Motors’adjusted earnings missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate while revenues beat the same. However, compared with the year-ago figures, both were higher. The company has been eyeing at frequent acquisition opportunities and the addition of dealership locations. In April, it added two dealerships namely, Broadway Ford in Idaho Falls, ID and Buhler Ford in Eatontown, NJ. These acquisitions enable the company to diversify its product portfolio and expand geographic presence. In order to boost shareholder confidence, the company frequently engages in dividend payouts and share repurchases. Moreover, Lithia Motors raised its guidance for full-year 2018.”

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A number of other research firms also recently issued reports on LAD. Bank of America raised shares of Lithia Motors from an underperform rating to a neutral rating and set a $128.00 price objective for the company in a report on Monday, January 8th. Buckingham Research lowered their price objective on shares of Lithia Motors from $137.00 to $131.00 and set a buy rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, February 15th. Stephens reiterated a buy rating on shares of Lithia Motors in a research report on Thursday, February 15th. Morgan Stanley upped their price objective on shares of Lithia Motors from $116.00 to $126.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research report on Wednesday, March 14th. Finally, Guggenheim assumed coverage on shares of Lithia Motors in a research report on Monday, April 16th. They set a neutral rating for the company. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $125.14.

Shares of LAD stock traded up $0.69 during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $95.74. 261,997 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 353,854. The company has a market capitalization of $2,388.23, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.03, a PEG ratio of 0.42 and a beta of 1.73. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.05, a quick ratio of 0.24 and a current ratio of 1.19. Lithia Motors has a 52 week low of $86.05 and a 52 week high of $127.99.

Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, April 25th. The company reported $2.07 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $2.30 by ($0.23). The company had revenue of $2.66 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.73 billion. Lithia Motors had a return on equity of 20.61% and a net margin of 2.34%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 18.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.78 EPS. sell-side analysts forecast that Lithia Motors will post 10.63 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, May 25th. Shareholders of record on Friday, May 11th will be given a $0.29 dividend. This is a boost from Lithia Motors’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.27. This represents a $1.16 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.21%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, May 10th. Lithia Motors’s dividend payout ratio is 12.87%.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. SG Americas Securities LLC bought a new position in shares of Lithia Motors in the first quarter valued at approximately $153,000. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. boosted its stake in Lithia Motors by 174.9% in the 4th quarter. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. now owns 1,655 shares of the company’s stock worth $188,000 after purchasing an additional 1,053 shares during the period. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. boosted its stake in Lithia Motors by 142.7% in the 4th quarter. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. now owns 1,648 shares of the company’s stock worth $188,000 after purchasing an additional 969 shares during the period. Stone Ridge Asset Management LLC bought a new position in Lithia Motors in the 4th quarter worth approximately $203,000. Finally, Campbell & CO Investment Adviser LLC bought a new position in Lithia Motors in the 1st quarter worth approximately $240,000.

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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