Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Lithia Motors, Inc. (NYSE:LAD) from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday. The brokerage currently has $121.00 target price on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Lithia Motors’ earnings and revenues beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the second quarter. Compared with 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 it has been undertaking. Also, its regular share repurchase programs and cash dividend payments will boost the shareholders’ value. Lithia Motors has also provided a strong fiscal 2017 guidance. For the last six months, its shares have outperformed the industry it belongs to. However, high merchandise inventory, a continuous fall of used car prices in all markets and declining sales volume of new vehicles are few concerns currently faced by the company.”

Several other equities analysts also recently commented on the stock. Bank of America Corporation downgraded shares of Lithia Motors from a neutral rating to an underperform rating and set a $92.00 target price on the stock. in a research report on Friday, June 16th. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a buy rating and set a $115.00 target price on shares of Lithia Motors in a research report on Wednesday, June 28th. BidaskClub raised shares of Lithia Motors from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 5th. Morgan Stanley lowered their target price on shares of Lithia Motors from $115.00 to $106.00 and set an overweight rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, June 9th. Finally, Seaport Global Securities started coverage on shares of Lithia Motors in a research report on Wednesday, June 14th. They set a neutral rating on the stock. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating, five have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $112.00.

Lithia Motors (LAD) traded up 1.31% during trading on Wednesday, reaching $103.09. The company had a trading volume of 153,651 shares. Lithia Motors has a 12 month low of $75.85 and a 12 month high of $109.42. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $100.81 and its 200-day moving average is $94.23. The company has a market capitalization of $2.58 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.43 and a beta of 1.73.

Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD) last posted its earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The company reported $2.28 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.23 by $0.05. The firm had revenue of $2.47 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.45 billion. Lithia Motors had a net margin of 2.26% and a return on equity of 21.66%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 15.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $1.96 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts expect that Lithia Motors will post $8.62 earnings per share for the current year.

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The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, August 25th. Stockholders of record on Friday, August 11th were given a $0.27 dividend. This represents a $1.08 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.05%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, August 9th. Lithia Motors’s dividend payout ratio is currently 13.01%.

In other news, CEO Bryan B. Deboer sold 11,514 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $96.76, for a total value of $1,114,094.64. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 102,353 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $9,903,676.28. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CEO Bryan B. Deboer sold 316 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, June 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $97.19, for a total value of $30,712.04. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 113,867 shares in the company, valued at $11,066,733.73. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders sold 243,135 shares of company stock worth $24,485,918. 7.85% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. US Bancorp DE increased its stake in shares of Lithia Motors by 6.2% in the first quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 2,994 shares of the company’s stock valued at $256,000 after buying an additional 174 shares in the last quarter. Flinton Capital Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Lithia Motors by 21.1% in the first quarter. Flinton Capital Management LLC now owns 1,564 shares of the company’s stock valued at $134,000 after buying an additional 272 shares in the last quarter. First Trust Advisors LP increased its stake in shares of Lithia Motors by 68.5% in the first quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 20,379 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,745,000 after buying an additional 8,286 shares in the last quarter. Tyers Asset Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Lithia Motors by 21.1% in the first quarter. Tyers Asset Management LLC now owns 1,288 shares of the company’s stock valued at $110,000 after buying an additional 224 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Great West Life Assurance Co. Can increased its stake in shares of Lithia Motors by 8.5% in the first quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can now owns 33,185 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,842,000 after buying an additional 2,599 shares in the last quarter. 99.45% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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Analyst Recommendations for Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD)

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