Liberty Property Trust (NYSE:LPT) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports. The firm currently has a $55.00 price objective on the real estate investment trust’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective points to a potential upside of 11.61% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Liberty Property have outperformed the industry, in the past six months. Leveraging on the strong fundamentals of the industrial real estate market, the company is focusing to expand its portfolio through strategic acquisitions and development. In fact, this March, it leased Westfork Distribution Center to Sugar Foods Corporation. Further, it has a decent balance sheet, superior access to capital, strategic asset sales activity and ample liquidity position that lends financial flexibility to invest in its growth endeavors. 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.”

A number of other equities research analysts have also commented on LPT. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group lowered Liberty Property Trust from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and reduced their price target for the company from $47.00 to $42.00 in a research report on Friday, January 4th. SunTrust Banks lowered Liberty Property Trust from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 15th. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. Liberty Property Trust currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $46.17.

NYSE LPT opened at $49.28 on Tuesday. Liberty Property Trust has a 12 month low of $38.72 and a 12 month high of $49.61. The stock has a market capitalization of $7.20 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.40, a P/E/G ratio of 3.15 and a beta of 0.77. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.91, a quick ratio of 2.68 and a current ratio of 2.68.

Liberty Property Trust (NYSE:LPT) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 5th. The real estate investment trust reported $0.74 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.63 by $0.11. Liberty Property Trust had a return on equity of 4.81% and a net margin of 66.67%. The firm 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 company posted $0.68 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 9.2% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts expect that Liberty Property Trust will post 2.58 EPS for the current year.

In related news, CAO Mary Beth Morrissey sold 6,237 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $46.75, for a total transaction of $291,579.75. Following the sale, the chief accounting officer now owns 60,698 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,837,631.50. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director David L. Lingerfelt sold 2,200 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.24, for a total value of $103,928.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 50,915 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,405,224.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 36,063 shares of company stock worth $1,700,007. 1.20% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in LPT. Vanguard Group Inc raised its stake in Liberty Property Trust by 0.5% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 21,713,904 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $917,412,000 after buying an additional 98,884 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in Liberty Property Trust by 2.4% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 20,474,937 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $857,491,000 after buying an additional 478,128 shares during the period. Cohen & Steers Inc. raised its stake in Liberty Property Trust by 81.8% during the 4th quarter. Cohen & Steers Inc. now owns 6,274,563 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $262,779,000 after buying an additional 2,823,846 shares during the period. Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC raised its stake in Liberty Property Trust by 108.6% during the 4th quarter. Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC now owns 4,979,397 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $208,537,000 after buying an additional 2,592,559 shares during the period. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its stake in Liberty Property Trust by 22.3% during the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 3,276,931 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $138,450,000 after buying an additional 597,054 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 94.12% of the company’s stock.

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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