Group 1 Automotive (GPI) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Group 1 Automotive (NYSE:GPI) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday morning.

According to Zacks, “Of late, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for Group 1 Automotive’s quarterly earnings has been moving down. The company regularly acquires and divests dealerships and franchises to expand its business footprint. In the first-half of 2018, it acquired total 12 franchises with expected annual revenues of $405 million. Further, the company’s higher cash balance allows it to frequently engage in capital deployment strategies, which include share buybacks and dividend payments. However, Group 1 is experiencing a continuous rise in selling, general and administrative expenses, which is expected to hamper its margins. Also, uncertainty related to Brexit is impeding its new vehicle sales in the market. Over the past three months, shares of the company have underperformed the industry it belongs to.”

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently commented on the company. ValuEngine cut Group 1 Automotive from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 2nd. Morgan Stanley increased their price objective on Group 1 Automotive from $59.00 to $64.00 and gave the company a sell rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 15th. Finally, Stephens raised Group 1 Automotive from an equal weight rating to an overweight rating and set a $95.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Monday, August 6th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $84.33.

NYSE GPI opened at $59.61 on Monday. Group 1 Automotive has a 12 month low of $58.32 and a 12 month high of $84.47. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.29 billion, a PE ratio of 7.71, a P/E/G ratio of 4.44 and a beta of 1.96. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.16, a quick ratio of 0.26 and a current ratio of 1.07.

Group 1 Automotive (NYSE:GPI) last released its earnings results on Thursday, July 26th. The company reported $2.45 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.14 by $0.31. Group 1 Automotive had a return on equity of 15.73% and a net margin of 1.97%. The firm had revenue of $2.94 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.92 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $1.87 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 10.2% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities analysts anticipate that Group 1 Automotive will post 8.92 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, September 18th. Investors of record on Tuesday, September 4th were given a dividend of $0.26 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, August 31st. This represents a $1.04 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.74%. Group 1 Automotive’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 13.45%.

In other Group 1 Automotive news, insider Daryl Kenningham sold 2,700 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $77.75, for a total value of $209,925.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Lincoln Pereira sold 25,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.45, for a total value of $1,986,250.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 67,425 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,356,916.25. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 38,200 shares of company stock worth $3,012,805 over the last ninety days. 4.95% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. BlueMountain Capital Management LLC bought a new position in Group 1 Automotive in the second quarter valued at about $119,000. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC bought a new position in Group 1 Automotive in the second quarter valued at about $135,000. Balter Liquid Alternatives LLC bought a new position in Group 1 Automotive in the second quarter valued at about $145,000. Flinton Capital Management LLC lifted its holdings in Group 1 Automotive by 74.4% in the second quarter. Flinton Capital Management LLC now owns 2,400 shares of the company’s stock valued at $151,000 after acquiring an additional 1,024 shares during the period. Finally, Meadow Creek Investment Management LLC lifted its holdings in Group 1 Automotive by 74.4% in the second quarter. Meadow Creek Investment Management LLC now owns 3,300 shares of the company’s stock valued at $208,000 after acquiring an additional 1,408 shares during the period. 99.76% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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