Lithia Motors Inc (NYSE:LAD) Short Interest Up 23.8% in May

Lithia Motors Inc (NYSE:LAD) was the recipient of a significant growth in short interest during the month of May. As of May 31st, there was short interest totalling 3,081,200 shares, a growth of 23.8% from the April 30th total of 2,489,200 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 235,700 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 13.1 days. Currently, 14.2% of the company’s stock are sold short.

Shares of NYSE LAD traded up $1.89 during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $120.61. The company had a trading volume of 151,303 shares, compared to its average volume of 204,702. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.04, a quick ratio of 0.23 and a current ratio of 1.17. Lithia Motors has a 12 month low of $67.90 and a 12 month high of $121.96. The stock has a market cap of $2.76 billion, a PE ratio of 12.09, a PEG ratio of 1.51 and a beta of 1.18.

Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, April 24th. The company reported $2.44 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.15 by $0.29. Lithia Motors had a net margin of 2.25% and a return on equity of 20.68%. The business had revenue of $2.85 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.86 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $2.07 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 7.1% on a year-over-year basis. Research analysts forecast that Lithia Motors will post 11.15 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, May 24th. Investors of record on Friday, May 10th were paid a $0.30 dividend. This represents a $1.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.99%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, May 9th. This is a boost from Lithia Motors’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.29. Lithia Motors’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 12.02%.

In other Lithia Motors news, Director Sidney B. Deboer sold 15,433 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, May 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $114.00, for a total transaction of $1,759,362.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 11,144 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,270,416. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Corporate insiders own 5.21% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in LAD. Ellis Investment Partners LLC bought a new position in shares of Lithia Motors in the first quarter valued at approximately $30,000. Versant Capital Management Inc increased its holdings in shares of Lithia Motors by 100.5% in the first quarter. Versant Capital Management Inc now owns 393 shares of the company’s stock valued at $36,000 after purchasing an additional 197 shares in the last quarter. Quantamental Technologies LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Lithia Motors in the first quarter valued at approximately $47,000. Bank of Montreal Can increased its holdings in shares of Lithia Motors by 65.8% in the fourth quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 1,096 shares of the company’s stock valued at $84,000 after purchasing an additional 435 shares in the last quarter. Finally, SG Americas Securities LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Lithia Motors in the first quarter valued at approximately $139,000.

Several equities research analysts have recently issued reports on the company. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Lithia Motors from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, March 25th. Longbow Research assumed coverage on Lithia Motors in a research report on Friday, May 31st. They issued a “buy” rating and a $132.00 price target on the stock. ValuEngine raised Lithia Motors from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 24th. Morgan Stanley raised their price target on Lithia Motors from $117.00 to $128.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Monday, May 6th. Finally, Buckingham Research raised their price target on Lithia Motors from $106.00 to $120.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, April 25th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $118.78.

Lithia Motors Company Profile

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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