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Key Factors to Influence Lithia's (LAD) Earnings This Season

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Lithia Motors (LAD - Free Report) is slated to release third-quarter 2020 results on Oct 21, before the opening bell. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter’s earnings and revenues is pegged at $6.22 per share and $3.55 billion.

The auto retailer delivered better-than-expected results in the last reported quarter on higher-than-expected revenues across all units. Over the trailing four quarters, Lithia beat estimates on three occasions and missed once, with the average surprise being 37.9%. This is depicted in the graph below:

Lithia Motors, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise

Lithia Motors, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise

Lithia Motors, Inc. price-eps-surprise | Lithia Motors, Inc. Quote

Trend in Estimate Revision

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for third-quarter 2020 earnings per share has increased by 81 cents over the past seven days, which calls for an 83.4% surge year on year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenues also suggests a 6.5% uptick from the prior-year reported figure of around $3.3 billion.

What You Should Know Ahead of the Earnings Release

Increasing consumer confidence, declining unemployment rate and Fed’s efforts to support the economy helped the auto industry to rebound in the third quarter from the sharp plunge witnessed in the second quarter. Amid the improving dynamics, Lithia’s earnings and sales are likely to have got a boost during the to-be-reported quarter. Rising demand of vehicles, increasing e-commerce initiatives and operational efficiency are anticipated to have aided Lithia during third-quarter 2020.The firm’s e-commerce home solution, Driveway, launched in early September, also helped it in stoking sales and driving profitability during third-quarter 2020.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenues from the two key segments namely New Vehicle and Used Vehicle is pegged at $1,874 million and $1,060 million, respectively. The estimated figures indicate year-over-year growth of 2.7% and 15.7%, respectively. Used car demand from mass-market brands continued to gain traction during the third quarter of 2020, thereby aiding Lithia’s Used Vehicle segment. Nonetheless, the consensus mark for gross margins for the segment is pegged at 10.7%, indicating a decline from the year-ago period’s margin of 10.9%.

Encouragingly, Lithia witnessed a sequential increase in same-store sales across all business lines during the third quarter. While year-over-year sales growth is likely to have been impressive, lower gross margins from the used vehicle segment may have dented overall third-quarter profits to some extent.

Earnings Whispers

The proven Zacks model does not conclusively predict an earnings beat for Lithia this time around. The combination of a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) increases the odds of an earnings beat. However, that is not the case here as elaborated below. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Earnings ESP: Earnings ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate Estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, is 0.00%. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Zacks Rank: Lithia currently carries a Zacks Rank #1.

Stocks to Consider

Here are some companies, which according to our model have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat in the to-be-reported quarter.

Genuine Parts Company (GPC - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +3.27% and carries a Zacks Rank #1 at present. The company is slated to release third-quarter 2020 earnings on Oct 22.

Autoliv (ALV - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +2.52% and currently carries a Zacks Rank #3. The company is slated to release third-quarter 2020 earnings on Oct 23.

Gentex Corporation (GNTX - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +8.37% and carries a Zacks Rank #2 currently. The company is slated to release third-quarter 2020 earnings on Oct 23.

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