Lithia Motors (LAD) Trading 5.1% Higher After Better-Than-Expected Earnings

Shares of Lithia Motors Inc (NYSE:LAD) traded up 5.1% on Thursday after the company announced better than expected quarterly earnings. The stock traded as high as $106.99 and last traded at $110.27. 337,133 shares traded hands during mid-day 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 (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $2.15 by $0.29. Lithia Motors had a return on equity of 20.82% and a net margin of 2.25%. The firm had revenue of $2.85 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.86 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $2.07 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 7.1% compared to the same quarter last year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, May 24th. Investors of record on Friday, May 10th will be issued a $0.30 dividend. 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 1.07%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, May 9th. Lithia Motors’s dividend payout ratio is currently 11.62%.

Several analysts recently issued reports on the company. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Lithia Motors from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, April 10th. Buckingham Research increased their price target on Lithia Motors from $106.00 to $120.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday. Bank of America downgraded Lithia Motors from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and increased their price target for the company from $102.00 to $115.00 in a report on Friday. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Stephens upgraded Lithia Motors from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and increased their price target for the company from $106.00 to $132.00 in a report on Thursday. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded Lithia Motors from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, February 13th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $114.13.

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

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA grew its stake in Lithia Motors by 847.6% in the first quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 5,155 shares of the company’s stock worth $478,000 after purchasing an additional 4,611 shares in the last quarter. Ellis Investment Partners LLC acquired a new position in Lithia Motors in the first quarter worth about $30,000. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. grew its stake in Lithia Motors by 13.0% in the first quarter. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. now owns 6,799 shares of the company’s stock worth $631,000 after purchasing an additional 783 shares in the last quarter. Versant Capital Management Inc grew its stake in Lithia Motors by 100.5% in the first quarter. Versant Capital Management Inc now owns 393 shares of the company’s stock worth $36,000 after purchasing an additional 197 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Brinker Capital Inc. grew its stake in Lithia Motors by 25.5% in the first quarter. Brinker Capital Inc. now owns 7,827 shares of the company’s stock worth $726,000 after purchasing an additional 1,592 shares in the last quarter.

The company has a market capitalization of $2.26 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.28, a PEG ratio of 1.14 and a beta of 1.19. The company has a quick ratio of 0.25, a current ratio of 1.20 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.13.

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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.

See Also: Insider Trading

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