Morgan Stanley Cuts Lear (LEA) Price Target to $174.00

Lear (NYSE:LEA) had its target price lowered by Morgan Stanley from $181.00 to $174.00 in a research report report published on Thursday, BenzingaRatingsTable reports. The firm currently has an overweight rating on the auto parts company’s stock.

Several other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on LEA. UBS Group raised their price objective on Lear from $143.00 to $164.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, January 16th. Zacks Investment Research cut Lear from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Monday, January 21st. Barclays restated a hold rating and set a $142.00 price objective on shares of Lear in a report on Thursday, January 24th. KeyCorp raised their price objective on Lear from $178.00 to $190.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a report on Monday, January 28th. Finally, Robert W. Baird raised their price objective on Lear from $140.00 to $158.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a report on Monday, January 28th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Lear has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $175.07.

Shares of NYSE:LEA opened at $134.06 on Thursday. The firm has a market cap of $8.35 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 7.36, a P/E/G ratio of 3.04 and a beta of 1.32. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.44, a quick ratio of 1.10 and a current ratio of 1.34. Lear has a one year low of $114.45 and a one year high of $206.36.

Lear (NYSE:LEA) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, April 26th. The auto parts company reported $4.00 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $4.06 by ($0.06). Lear had a return on equity of 25.28% and a net margin of 4.94%. The business had revenue of $5.16 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.25 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $5.10 EPS. Lear’s revenue for the quarter was down 10.0% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, equities research analysts forecast that Lear will post 17.66 earnings per share for the current year.

Lear declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a share buyback plan on Thursday, February 7th that permits the company to repurchase $1.50 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the auto parts company to reacquire up to 15.6% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are typically a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, June 26th. Investors of record on Friday, June 7th will be issued a $0.75 dividend. This represents a $3.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.24%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, June 6th. Lear’s payout ratio is currently 16.47%.

In related news, VP Shari L. Burgess sold 3,500 shares of Lear stock in a transaction on Tuesday, February 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $156.00, for a total value of $546,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. 0.37% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Norges Bank acquired a new position in Lear in the fourth quarter valued at $653,026,000. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund boosted its holdings in Lear by 11,007.8% in the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 4,898,551 shares of the auto parts company’s stock valued at $40,000 after acquiring an additional 4,854,451 shares during the last quarter. Harris Associates L P boosted its holdings in Lear by 65.9% in the fourth quarter. Harris Associates L P now owns 3,424,807 shares of the auto parts company’s stock valued at $420,772,000 after acquiring an additional 1,360,164 shares during the last quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA boosted its holdings in Lear by 140.4% in the fourth quarter. Massachusetts Financial Services Co. MA now owns 2,841,520 shares of the auto parts company’s stock valued at $349,110,000 after acquiring an additional 1,659,488 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Pzena Investment Management LLC acquired a new position in Lear in the fourth quarter valued at $339,861,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 97.57% of the company’s stock.

About Lear

Lear Corporation designs, develops, engineers, manufactures, assembles, and supplies automotive seating, and electrical distribution systems and related components for automotive original equipment manufacturers worldwide. It operates in two segments, Seating and E-Systems. The Seating segment offers leather and fabric products, seat trim covers, recliner mechanisms, seat tracks and foams, seat structures and mechanisms, and headrests for automobiles and light trucks, compact cars, and sport utility vehicles; and heating and cooling systems.

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