Group 1 Automotive (NYSE:GPI) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday. The firm currently has a $62.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective suggests a potential upside of 16.28% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Group 1 Automotive’s annual earnings has been moving up. The company regularly opens new dealerships besides acquiring exiting ones. Last month, it opened three dealerships, of which two is in Texas and one in Brazil. Year to date, Group 1 acquired a total of 14 dealerships, with expected annual revenues of $530 million. It regularly acquires and divests dealerships and franchises to expand its business footprint. Further, the company’s higher cash balance allows it to frequently engage in capital deployment strategies, which include share buybacks and dividend payments. However, declining new vehicle sales in U.K. partly due to new emission tests are concerns for the company. Also, shares of the company have underperformed the industry over the past three months.”

Other analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. ValuEngine cut shares of Group 1 Automotive from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Saturday, September 22nd. Morgan Stanley upped their price objective on shares of Group 1 Automotive from $59.00 to $64.00 and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 15th. Buckingham Research raised shares of Group 1 Automotive from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $70.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Monday, October 29th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, TheStreet cut shares of Group 1 Automotive from a “b-” rating to a “c+” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 18th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $78.60.

Shares of Group 1 Automotive stock opened at $53.32 on Wednesday. The company has a current ratio of 1.03, a quick ratio of 0.24 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.14. The stock has a market cap of $1.02 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 6.11, a PEG ratio of 3.66 and a beta of 2.05. Group 1 Automotive has a 1-year low of $51.90 and a 1-year high of $83.97.

Group 1 Automotive (NYSE:GPI) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $2.47 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.39 by $0.08. The firm had revenue of $2.89 billion for the quarter. Group 1 Automotive had a net margin of 2.05% and a return on equity of 15.48%. As a group, equities analysts anticipate that Group 1 Automotive will post 8.88 EPS for the current year.

Group 1 Automotive announced that its board has approved a stock buyback plan on Thursday, October 25th that authorizes the company to buyback $100.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to repurchase up to 9.5% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are usually a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Northern Trust Corp grew its stake in shares of Group 1 Automotive by 3.0% during the second quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 846,026 shares of the company’s stock valued at $53,300,000 after purchasing an additional 24,446 shares during the last quarter. LSV Asset Management grew its stake in shares of Group 1 Automotive by 22.9% during the third quarter. LSV Asset Management now owns 804,044 shares of the company’s stock valued at $52,182,000 after purchasing an additional 149,800 shares during the last quarter. OppenheimerFunds Inc. grew its stake in shares of Group 1 Automotive by 2.9% during the second quarter. OppenheimerFunds Inc. now owns 625,444 shares of the company’s stock valued at $39,404,000 after purchasing an additional 17,350 shares during the last quarter. Towle & Co. grew its stake in shares of Group 1 Automotive by 3.0% during the third quarter. Towle & Co. now owns 398,889 shares of the company’s stock valued at $25,888,000 after purchasing an additional 11,790 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its stake in shares of Group 1 Automotive by 1.3% during the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 394,376 shares of the company’s stock valued at $25,594,000 after purchasing an additional 5,049 shares during the last quarter.

About Group 1 Automotive

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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