Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Liberty Property Trust (NYSE:LPT) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Liberty Property have outperformed the industry it belongs to, in the past year. Notably, the company is gradually shifting its focus towards industrial properties due to favorable demand supply conditions. As part of that, Liberty Property is enhancing its portfolio mix through continued divestitures of office properties. While such efforts are a strategic fit for long-term growth, the near-term dilution effect of such moves on earnings is unavoidable. Moreover, supply of industrial real estates is likely to increase in the upcoming quarters and adversely affect the growth tempo of this real estate market. Also, rate hike remains a concern. Nevertheless, its premium quality industrial properties, situated in key locations, have the capacity to drive long-term growth by leveraging on the e-commerce boom and supply-chain strategy transformations.”

Several other research analysts have also recently commented on LPT. Stifel Nicolaus restated a buy rating and issued a $44.00 target price on shares of Liberty Property Trust in a research report on Thursday, September 21st. KeyCorp restated a hold rating on shares of Liberty Property Trust in a research report on Tuesday, October 24th. Sandler O’Neill upgraded shares of Liberty Property Trust from a sell rating to a hold rating and set a $45.00 price objective for the company in a report on Wednesday, October 25th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Liberty Property Trust from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Friday, November 10th. Finally, Morgan Stanley reiterated an equal weight rating and issued a $43.00 price objective on shares of Liberty Property Trust in a report on Thursday, December 14th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the stock. Liberty Property Trust has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $43.75.

Liberty Property Trust (NYSE LPT) opened at $41.89 on Wednesday. Liberty Property Trust has a 1 year low of $37.21 and a 1 year high of $45.40. The company has a quick ratio of 1.78, a current ratio of 1.78 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.93. The company has a market cap of $6,180.00, a PE ratio of 17.68, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.66 and a beta of 0.89.

Liberty Property Trust (NYSE:LPT) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, October 24th. The real estate investment trust reported $0.40 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.63 by ($0.23). Liberty Property Trust had a return on equity of 11.41% and a net margin of 47.78%. The firm had revenue of $193.65 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $174.65 million. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.66 EPS. Liberty Property Trust’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.5% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts forecast that Liberty Property Trust will post 2.55 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 15th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, January 2nd will be issued a $0.40 dividend. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.82%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 29th. Liberty Property Trust’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 67.51%.

Liberty Property Trust declared that its board has initiated a stock repurchase plan on Monday, October 2nd that authorizes the company to repurchase $250.00 million in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the real estate investment trust to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are usually a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, Director David L. Lingerfelt sold 18,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $44.56, for a total value of $802,080.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 56,814 shares in the company, valued at $2,531,631.84. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Company insiders own 1.50% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio boosted its holdings in Liberty Property Trust by 28.3% during the third quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 290,716 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $11,937,000 after buying an additional 64,072 shares in the last quarter. GSA Capital Partners LLP boosted its holdings in Liberty Property Trust by 239.7% during the third quarter. GSA Capital Partners LLP now owns 21,576 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $886,000 after buying an additional 15,225 shares in the last quarter. Fieldpoint Private Securities LLC bought a new stake in Liberty Property Trust during the third quarter worth approximately $100,000. Sterling Capital Management LLC boosted its holdings in Liberty Property Trust by 30.2% during the third quarter. Sterling Capital Management LLC now owns 73,437 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $3,015,000 after buying an additional 17,027 shares in the last quarter. Finally, California Public Employees Retirement System boosted its holdings in Liberty Property Trust by 4.6% during the third quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 392,334 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $16,109,000 after buying an additional 17,371 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 91.28% of the company’s stock.

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Liberty Property Trust Company Profile

Liberty Property Trust (the Trust) is a self-administered and self-managed Maryland real estate investment trust (REIT). The Trust’s assets are owned directly or indirectly, and substantially all of the Trust’s operations are conducted directly or indirectly, by its subsidiary, Liberty Property Limited Partnership (the Operating Partnership).

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