Liberty Property Trust (LPT) Lowered to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Liberty Property Trust (NYSE:LPT) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report published on Wednesday, January 3rd.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Liberty Property have outperformed the industry it belongs to, in the past year. Notably, the company is gradually shifting its focus towards industrial properties due to favorable demand supply conditions. As part of that, Liberty Property is enhancing its portfolio mix through continued divestitures of office properties. While such efforts are a strategic fit for long-term growth, the near-term dilution effect of such moves on earnings is unavoidable. Moreover, supply of industrial real estates is likely to increase in the upcoming quarters and adversely affect the growth tempo of this real estate market. Also, rate hike remains a concern. Nevertheless, its premium quality industrial properties, situated in key locations, have the capacity to drive long-term growth by leveraging on the e-commerce boom and supply-chain strategy transformations.”

A number of other analysts also recently weighed in on LPT. Stifel Nicolaus restated a buy rating and issued a $44.00 target price on shares of Liberty Property Trust in a report on Thursday, September 21st. KeyCorp restated a hold rating on shares of Liberty Property Trust in a report on Tuesday, October 24th. Sandler O’Neill upgraded shares of Liberty Property Trust from a sell rating to a hold rating and set a $45.00 target price on the stock in a report on Wednesday, October 25th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Liberty Property Trust from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Friday, November 10th. Finally, Morgan Stanley restated an equal weight rating and issued a $43.00 target price on shares of Liberty Property Trust in a report on Thursday, December 14th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $43.43.

Shares of Liberty Property Trust (LPT) traded down $0.18 during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $41.06. 535,600 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 677,388. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.93, a quick ratio of 1.78 and a current ratio of 1.78. The company has a market cap of $6,175.34, a P/E ratio of 17.32, a P/E/G ratio of 2.67 and a beta of 0.89. Liberty Property Trust has a one year low of $37.21 and a one year high of $45.40.

Liberty Property Trust (NYSE:LPT) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 24th. The real estate investment trust reported $0.40 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.63 by ($0.23). Liberty Property Trust had a net margin of 47.78% and a return on equity of 11.41%. The company had revenue of $193.65 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $174.65 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.66 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 1.5% on a year-over-year basis. equities analysts anticipate that Liberty Property Trust will post 2.55 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Liberty Property Trust declared that its board has approved a share repurchase program on Monday, October 2nd that permits the company to buyback $250.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization permits the real estate investment trust to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 15th. Investors of record on Tuesday, January 2nd will be paid a dividend of $0.40 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 29th. This represents a $1.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.90%. Liberty Property Trust’s dividend payout ratio is presently 67.51%.

In related news, Director David L. Lingerfelt sold 18,000 shares of Liberty Property Trust stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $44.56, for a total transaction of $802,080.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 56,814 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,531,631.84. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. 1.50% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its position in Liberty Property Trust by 21.0% in the 2nd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 3,736,798 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $152,125,000 after buying an additional 649,069 shares during the period. Royal Bank of Canada boosted its position in Liberty Property Trust by 4.5% in the 2nd quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 3,333,422 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $135,704,000 after buying an additional 142,553 shares during the period. PGGM Investments boosted its position in Liberty Property Trust by 4.9% in the 3rd quarter. PGGM Investments now owns 2,997,000 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $123,057,000 after buying an additional 139,000 shares during the period. Northern Trust Corp boosted its position in Liberty Property Trust by 6.3% in the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 2,279,886 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $92,814,000 after buying an additional 135,578 shares during the period. Finally, Dimensional Fund Advisors LP boosted its position in Liberty Property Trust by 0.8% in the 3rd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 2,151,144 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $88,328,000 after buying an additional 17,937 shares during the period. 91.28% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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About Liberty Property Trust

Liberty Property Trust (the Trust) is a self-administered and self-managed Maryland real estate investment trust (REIT). The Trust’s assets are owned directly or indirectly, and substantially all of the Trust’s operations are conducted directly or indirectly, by its subsidiary, Liberty Property Limited Partnership (the Operating Partnership).

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