An issue of Lithia Motors, Inc. (NYSE:LAD) debt rose 0.7% as a percentage of its face value during trading on Friday. The high-yield debt issue has a 5.25% coupon and will mature on August 1, 2025. The debt is now trading at $103.06 and was trading at $102.50 one week ago. Price changes in a company’s debt in credit markets often predict parallel changes in its share price.

LAD has been the subject of a number of recent analyst reports. Jefferies Group LLC restated a “buy” rating and issued a $115.00 price objective on shares of Lithia Motors in a research note on Wednesday, June 28th. BidaskClub raised Lithia Motors from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 5th. Seaport Global Securities initiated coverage on Lithia Motors in a research report on Wednesday, June 14th. They set a “neutral” rating on the stock. Morgan Stanley dropped their price target on 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, Zacks Investment Research raised Lithia Motors from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $121.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Wednesday, August 23rd. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating, four have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Lithia Motors currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $112.00.

Lithia Motors, Inc. (NYSE:LAD) traded up 0.98% on Friday, hitting $110.47. The stock had a trading volume of 200,649 shares. Lithia Motors, Inc. has a 1-year low of $75.85 and a 1-year high of $110.79. The firm has a market capitalization of $2.76 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.32 and a beta of 1.73. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $103.31 and its 200 day moving average is $94.56.

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

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, August 25th. Stockholders of record on Friday, August 11th were issued a dividend of $0.27 per share. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, August 9th. This represents a $1.08 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.98%. Lithia Motors’s dividend payout ratio is presently 13.01%.

In other Lithia Motors news, CEO Bryan B. Deboer sold 316 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, June 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $97.19, for a total transaction of $30,712.04. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 113,867 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $11,066,733.73. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CEO Bryan B. Deboer sold 11,514 shares of the 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 in the company, valued at $9,903,676.28. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 236,700 shares of company stock valued at $23,887,068. Company insiders own 7.85% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of LAD. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in shares of Lithia Motors by 152,203.5% during the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 2,901,382 shares of the company’s stock valued at $248,504,000 after acquiring an additional 2,899,477 shares during the period. Victory Capital Management Inc. grew its position in shares of Lithia Motors by 139.5% during the 2nd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 955,783 shares of the company’s stock valued at $90,063,000 after acquiring an additional 556,684 shares during the period. Harbour Capital Advisors LLC grew its position in shares of Lithia Motors by 6,308.0% during the 2nd quarter. Harbour Capital Advisors LLC now owns 383,516 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,070,000 after acquiring an additional 377,531 shares during the period. Aberdeen Asset Management PLC UK acquired a new stake in shares of Lithia Motors during the 2nd quarter valued at about $32,031,000. Finally, Koch Industries Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Lithia Motors during the 2nd quarter valued at about $201,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 98.47% of the company’s stock.

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About Lithia Motors

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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