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

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Group 1 Automotive (NYSE:GPI) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $78.00 price target on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Group 1 Automotive regularly opens new dealerships beside acquiring existing ones. In the fourth quarter, it witnessed rise in used-vehicle volume and margin, which can be attributable to its Val-U-Line initiative in the United States. The company pursues capital-deployment strategies to reward shareholders. However, declining new-vehicle sales in the U.K. partly due to new emission tests are concerns for the company. Also, volatility in foreign currency negatively impacted Group 1 Automotive’s business. In the past year, shares of the company have underperformed the sector it belongs to.”

A number of other equities research analysts have also issued reports on the stock. Morgan Stanley raised their price target on shares of Group 1 Automotive from $55.00 to $67.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a report on Tuesday. ValuEngine raised shares of Group 1 Automotive from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, April 4th. Goldman Sachs Group raised shares of Group 1 Automotive from a neutral rating to a buy rating and raised their price target for the stock from $67.00 to $77.00 in a report on Monday, March 4th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. began coverage on shares of Group 1 Automotive in a report on Tuesday, February 19th. They issued an overweight rating and a $77.00 price target on the stock. Finally, Seaport Global Securities began coverage on shares of Group 1 Automotive in a report on Wednesday, February 13th. They issued a buy rating on the stock. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $77.33.

Shares of Group 1 Automotive stock opened at $72.16 on Tuesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.28 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 8.10, a PEG ratio of 1.88 and a beta of 1.78. Group 1 Automotive has a 12-month low of $48.69 and a 12-month high of $81.16. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.17, a quick ratio of 0.23 and a current ratio of 1.01.

Group 1 Automotive (NYSE:GPI) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 5th. The company reported $2.31 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.28 by $0.03. The business had revenue of $2.90 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.83 billion. Group 1 Automotive had a net margin of 1.36% and a return on equity of 15.31%. The company’s revenue was down .7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $2.11 EPS. Research analysts expect that Group 1 Automotive will post 9.13 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Group 1 Automotive announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase plan on Thursday, February 21st that authorizes the company to buyback $75.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to reacquire up to 6.5% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are often a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Denali Advisors LLC bought a new stake in shares of Group 1 Automotive during the 1st quarter valued at about $58,000. 6 Meridian purchased a new position in Group 1 Automotive during the 1st quarter valued at about $224,000. AlphaCrest Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in Group 1 Automotive during the 4th quarter valued at about $258,000. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY lifted its position in Group 1 Automotive by 362.6% during the 4th quarter. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY now owns 6,204 shares of the company’s stock valued at $327,000 after acquiring an additional 4,863 shares during the period. Finally, Stone Ridge Asset Management LLC lifted its position in Group 1 Automotive by 57.8% during the 4th quarter. Stone Ridge Asset Management LLC now owns 6,730 shares of the company’s stock valued at $355,000 after acquiring an additional 2,465 shares during the period. 99.93% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Group 1 Automotive Company Profile

Group 1 Automotive, Inc, through its subsidiaries, operates in the automotive retail industry. The company sells new and used cars, light trucks, and vehicle parts, as well as service insurance contracts; arranges related vehicle financing; and offers automotive maintenance and repair services. It has operations primarily in the metropolitan areas in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas in the United States; 32 towns in the United Kingdom; and metropolitan markets in the states of Sao Paulo, Parana, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Santa Catarina, Brazil.

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