Group 1 Automotive (GPI) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Buy

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Group 1 Automotive (NYSE:GPI) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report released on Wednesday. They currently have $62.00 price target on the stock.

According to Zacks, “The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Group 1 Automotive’s annual earnings has been moving up. The company regularly opens new dealerships besides acquiring exiting ones. Last month, it opened three dealerships, of which two is in Texas and one in Brazil. Year to date, Group 1 acquired a total of 14 dealerships, with expected annual revenues of $530 million. It regularly acquires and divests dealerships and franchises to expand its business footprint. Further, the company’s higher cash balance allows it to frequently engage in capital deployment strategies, which include share buybacks and dividend payments. However, declining new vehicle sales in U.K. partly due to new emission tests are concerns for the company. Also, shares of the company have underperformed the industry over the past three months.”

GPI has been the topic of several other reports. TheStreet cut shares of Group 1 Automotive from a b- rating to a c+ rating in a research note on Thursday, October 18th. Morgan Stanley upgraded shares of Group 1 Automotive from an underweight rating to an equal weight rating and set a $61.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, November 14th. Buckingham Research upgraded shares of Group 1 Automotive from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $70.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Monday, October 29th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, ValuEngine lowered shares of Group 1 Automotive from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 2nd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $78.60.

Shares of GPI opened at $52.48 on Wednesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.14, a quick ratio of 0.24 and a current ratio of 1.03. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.02 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 6.79, a PEG ratio of 3.66 and a beta of 2.05. Group 1 Automotive has a 1 year low of $51.90 and a 1 year high of $83.97.

Group 1 Automotive (NYSE:GPI) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $2.47 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $2.39 by $0.08. The company had revenue of $2.89 billion for the quarter. Group 1 Automotive had a net margin of 2.05% and a return on equity of 15.48%. As a group, equities research analysts expect that Group 1 Automotive will post 8.88 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, December 17th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 3rd will be given a dividend of $0.26 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, November 30th. This represents a $1.04 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.98%. Group 1 Automotive’s payout ratio is currently 13.45%.

Group 1 Automotive announced that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase program on Thursday, October 25th that authorizes the company to buyback $100.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to purchase up to 9.5% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Marshall Wace LLP purchased a new stake in shares of Group 1 Automotive during the 3rd quarter worth $14,704,000. Legal & General Group Plc boosted its position in shares of Group 1 Automotive by 4.0% during the 3rd quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 64,019 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,165,000 after purchasing an additional 2,456 shares in the last quarter. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Alberta as represented by Alberta Investment Management Corp boosted its position in shares of Group 1 Automotive by 19.2% during the 3rd quarter. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Alberta as represented by Alberta Investment Management Corp now owns 22,966 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,490,000 after purchasing an additional 3,700 shares in the last quarter. IndexIQ Advisors LLC boosted its position in shares of Group 1 Automotive by 3.9% during the 3rd quarter. IndexIQ Advisors LLC now owns 34,791 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,258,000 after purchasing an additional 1,315 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Mackenzie Financial Corp purchased a new stake in shares of Group 1 Automotive during the 3rd quarter worth $23,804,000.

Group 1 Automotive Company Profile

Group 1 Automotive, Inc, through its subsidiaries, operates in the automotive retail industry. It sells new and used cars, light trucks, and vehicle parts; arranges vehicle financing; sells service and insurance contracts; and provides automotive maintenance and repair services. The company has operations primarily in the metropolitan areas of Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas in the United States; 28 towns in the United Kingdom; and in the metropolitan markets of Sao Paulo, Parana, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Santa Catarina, Brazil.

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