Lithia Motors (LAD) Shares Up 5.1% on Earnings Beat

Lithia Motors Inc (NYSE:LAD) shot up 5.1% during trading on Thursday after the company announced better than expected quarterly earnings. The company traded as high as $106.99 and last traded at $110.27. 337,133 shares were traded during trading, an increase of 58% from the average session volume of 212,851 shares. The stock had previously closed at $104.92.

The company reported $2.44 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $2.15 by $0.29. The firm had revenue of $2.85 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.86 billion. Lithia Motors had a return on equity of 20.82% and a net margin of 2.25%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $2.07 earnings per share.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, May 24th. Shareholders of record on Friday, May 10th will be issued a dividend of $0.30 per share. This is an increase from Lithia Motors’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.29. This represents a $1.20 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.09%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, May 9th. Lithia Motors’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 11.62%.

LAD has been the topic of several research reports. ValuEngine downgraded Lithia Motors from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, February 13th. Buckingham Research raised their price objective on Lithia Motors from $106.00 to $120.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Lithia Motors from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, April 2nd. Stephens upgraded Lithia Motors from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and raised their price objective for the stock from $106.00 to $132.00 in a report on Thursday. Finally, TheStreet upgraded Lithia Motors from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a report on Tuesday, January 29th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Lithia Motors has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $113.50.

In other Lithia Motors news, Director Susan O. Cain sold 1,462 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, February 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $87.15, for a total transaction of $127,413.30. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 10,849 shares in the company, valued at approximately $945,490.35. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CEO Bryan B. Deboer sold 3,835 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, February 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $90.00, for a total value of $345,150.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 153,285 shares in the company, valued at $13,795,650. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 5.21% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in LAD. United Services Automobile Association boosted its position in Lithia Motors by 121.2% during the 3rd quarter. United Services Automobile Association now owns 8,304 shares of the company’s stock valued at $678,000 after acquiring an additional 4,550 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its position in Lithia Motors by 23.2% during the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 606,370 shares of the company’s stock valued at $49,516,000 after acquiring an additional 114,014 shares in the last quarter. Jane Street Group LLC bought a new stake in Lithia Motors during the 3rd quarter valued at $869,000. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC boosted its position in Lithia Motors by 56.6% during the 3rd quarter. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC now owns 16,475 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,345,000 after acquiring an additional 5,956 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Macquarie Group Ltd. boosted its position in Lithia Motors by 35.1% during the 3rd quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 29,799 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,433,000 after acquiring an additional 7,750 shares in the last quarter.

The company has a quick ratio of 0.25, a current ratio of 1.20 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.13. The stock has a market cap of $2.26 billion, a PE ratio of 11.03, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.14 and a beta of 1.19.

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About Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD)

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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