Lennar (LEN) Upgraded to Hold by Zacks Investment Research

Lennar (NYSE:LEN) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Lennar is one of the best-positioned homebuilders to capitalize on the housing recovery, courtesy of the diverse revenue mix, steady top-line performance, above-average order growth and improving SG&A leverage. Moreover, Lennar has agreed to take over CalAtlantic Group in a deal worth $9.3 billion. The combined entity will have a footprint touching approximately 50% of the U.S. population and is expected to generate meaningful cost savings. However, labor shortage along with rising land and labor costs pose a threat to the company’s margins. In the first nine months of fiscal 2017, Lennar’s gross margin on home sales decreased 90 bps year over year, due to an increase in construction and land costs per home. Also, Lennar shares have underperformed its industry in the last one year. Earnings estimates for the fourth quarter and the fiscal 2017 have remained stable ahead of the earnings release.”

A number of other research firms have also weighed in on LEN. Wedbush reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $54.00 target price on shares of Lennar in a report on Thursday, September 14th. Mizuho lowered Lennar from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and decreased their target price for the stock from $59.00 to $53.00 in a report on Tuesday, September 19th. Royal Bank of Canada reissued a “buy” rating and set a $64.00 target price on shares of Lennar in a report on Monday, September 25th. KeyCorp restated a “hold” rating on shares of Lennar in a research note on Tuesday, September 26th. Finally, MKM Partners upgraded Lennar from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $64.00 price target for the company in a research note on Wednesday, October 4th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $59.60.

Lennar (NYSE:LEN) traded down $0.35 during trading hours on Thursday, hitting $67.23. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 3,296,200 shares, compared to its average volume of 4,205,880. The firm has a market cap of $15,500.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.37, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.35 and a beta of 1.35. Lennar has a 52-week low of $43.13 and a 52-week high of $67.80. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.72, a current ratio of 7.76 and a quick ratio of 0.59.

In other Lennar news, CFO Bruce E. Gross sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $60.00, for a total value of $300,000.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 371,043 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $22,262,580. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, COO Jonathan M. Jaffe sold 20,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, January 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $64.02, for a total value of $1,280,400.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief operating officer now directly owns 99,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,337,980. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 12.18% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Private Asset Management Inc. acquired a new stake in Lennar during the fourth quarter worth approximately $316,000. Belpointe Asset Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Lennar in the third quarter valued at approximately $264,000. IFM Investors Pty Ltd purchased a new stake in shares of Lennar during the third quarter valued at approximately $275,000. RWC Asset Management LLP increased its position in shares of Lennar by 20.6% during the third quarter. RWC Asset Management LLP now owns 358,295 shares of the construction company’s stock valued at $18,918,000 after acquiring an additional 61,163 shares during the last quarter. Finally, California Public Employees Retirement System increased its position in shares of Lennar by 2.5% during the third quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 420,210 shares of the construction company’s stock valued at $22,187,000 after acquiring an additional 10,410 shares during the last quarter. 81.25% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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Lennar Company Profile

Lennar Corporation is a provider of real estate related financial services, commercial real estate, investment management and finance company. The Company is a homebuilder that operates in various states. Its segments include Homebuilding East, Homebuilding Central, Homebuilding West, Lennar Financial Services, Rialto and Lennar Multifamily.

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