Liberty Property Trust (LPT) Lifted to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Liberty Property Trust (NYSE:LPT) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Liberty Property have outperformed its industry over the past six months. The company is witnessing solid demand for its industrial properties. In fact, in late January Liberty Property secured five leases aggregating 286,159 square feet of space in its Charlotte portfolio. Hence, leveraging on the strong fundamentals of industrial real estate market, the company is focusing to expand its industrial portfolio through strategic acquisitions and development. Also, it is disposing non-core office properties to pursue such expansion opportunities. However, large scale dispositions will likely have a dilutive impact on the company’s earnings in the near term. Rate hike and protectionist trade policies add to its woes.”

LPT has been the topic of several other research reports. ValuEngine upgraded Liberty Property Trust from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 21st. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group cut their target price on Liberty Property Trust from $49.00 to $47.00 and set an overweight rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, October 24th. Finally, SunTrust Banks lowered Liberty Property Trust from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 15th. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $44.83.

LPT opened at $47.07 on Monday. Liberty Property Trust has a 1 year low of $38.32 and a 1 year high of $47.83. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.94, a quick ratio of 1.54 and a current ratio of 1.54. The stock has a market capitalization of $6.97 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.40, a P/E/G ratio of 3.04 and a beta of 0.79.

Liberty Property Trust (NYSE:LPT) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, February 5th. The real estate investment trust reported $0.74 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.63 by $0.11. Liberty Property Trust had a return on equity of 4.87% and a net margin of 66.67%. The company had revenue of $124.90 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $123.19 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.68 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 9.2% compared to the same quarter last year. Sell-side analysts predict that Liberty Property Trust will post 2.58 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 15th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, January 2nd were paid a dividend of $0.40 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, December 31st. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.40%. Liberty Property Trust’s payout ratio is 72.73%.

In other news, CAO Mary Beth Morrissey sold 6,843 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, December 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $45.52, for a total transaction of $311,493.36. Following the sale, the chief accounting officer now owns 73,778 shares in the company, valued at $3,358,374.56. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. 1.20% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Meeder Asset Management Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Liberty Property Trust during the 4th quarter worth approximately $41,000. Private Capital Group LLC raised its stake in shares of Liberty Property Trust by 144.2% during the 4th quarter. Private Capital Group LLC now owns 1,292 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $55,000 after buying an additional 763 shares during the period. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund raised its stake in shares of Liberty Property Trust by 4,088.0% during the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 2,448,263 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $58,000 after buying an additional 2,389,804 shares during the period. Enlightenment Research LLC acquired a new position in shares of Liberty Property Trust during the 4th quarter worth approximately $126,000. Finally, Bessemer Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Liberty Property Trust by 723.5% during the 3rd quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 3,788 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $160,000 after buying an additional 3,328 shares during the period. 91.09% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Liberty Property Trust

Liberty Property Trust (NYSE:LPT) is a leader in commercial real estate, serving customers in the United States and United Kingdom, through the development, acquisition, ownership and management of industrial and office properties. Liberty's 103.5 million square foot operating portfolio provides productive work environments for 1,200 tenants.

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