Principal Financial Group Inc. reduced its position in shares of Lithia Motors, Inc. (NYSE:LAD – Get Rating) by 0.1% during the fourth quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 107,202 shares of the company’s stock after selling 111 shares during the period. Principal Financial Group Inc.’s holdings in Lithia Motors were worth $21,949,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
A number of other institutional investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in the company. First Eagle Investment Management LLC raised its stake in Lithia Motors by 53.0% during the 4th quarter. First Eagle Investment Management LLC now owns 27,542 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,639,000 after buying an additional 9,537 shares during the period. Malaga Cove Capital LLC raised its stake in shares of Lithia Motors by 76.0% in the fourth quarter. Malaga Cove Capital LLC now owns 2,524 shares of the company’s stock worth $517,000 after purchasing an additional 1,090 shares during the last quarter. Treasurer of the State of North Carolina raised its stake in shares of Lithia Motors by 1.3% in the fourth quarter. Treasurer of the State of North Carolina now owns 11,766 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,409,000 after purchasing an additional 150 shares during the last quarter. Royal London Asset Management Ltd. raised its stake in shares of Lithia Motors by 11.5% in the fourth quarter. Royal London Asset Management Ltd. now owns 655,386 shares of the company’s stock worth $134,239,000 after purchasing an additional 67,523 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Mercer Global Advisors Inc. ADV raised its stake in shares of Lithia Motors by 3.9% in the fourth quarter. Mercer Global Advisors Inc. ADV now owns 1,205 shares of the company’s stock worth $247,000 after purchasing an additional 45 shares during the last quarter. 98.21% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades
Several analysts have recently commented on the company. Guggenheim lowered their price objective on Lithia Motors from $332.00 to $320.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, April 20th. Wells Fargo & Company increased their price target on Lithia Motors from $233.00 to $262.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Thursday, February 16th. TheStreet raised Lithia Motors from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a research report on Wednesday, February 1st. Finally, StockNews.com started coverage on Lithia Motors in a report on Thursday. They set a “hold” rating for the company. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. According to data from MarketBeat.com, the company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $300.56.
Insider Buying and Selling at Lithia Motors
Lithia Motors Stock Performance
Lithia Motors stock opened at $226.33 on Friday. The stock’s 50 day simple moving average is $219.07 and its two-hundred day simple moving average is $229.72. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.07, a quick ratio of 0.33 and a current ratio of 1.30. The stock has a market cap of $6.23 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 5.54, a PEG ratio of 2.03 and a beta of 1.38. Lithia Motors, Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $180.00 and a fifty-two week high of $314.83.
Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD – Get Rating) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, April 19th. The company reported $8.44 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $8.79 by ($0.35). Lithia Motors had a return on equity of 22.34% and a net margin of 3.99%. The company had revenue of $6.97 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $7.28 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $11.96 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.0% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, analysts expect that Lithia Motors, Inc. will post 34.16 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
Lithia Motors Increases Dividend
The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, May 26th. Shareholders of record on Friday, May 12th will be paid a dividend of $0.50 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, May 11th. This is a positive change from Lithia Motors’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.42. This represents a $2.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.88%. Lithia Motors’s payout ratio is currently 4.90%.
About Lithia Motors
Lithia Motors, Inc engages in the operation of automotive franchises and retail of new and used vehicles. It operates through the following segments: Domestic, Import and Luxury. The Domestic segment consists of retail automotive franchises that sell new vehicles manufactured by Chrysler, General Motors, and Ford.
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