Standard Motor Products (SMP) Stock Rating Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Standard Motor Products (NYSE:SMP) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday, February 22nd. The firm currently has $57.00 target price on the auto parts company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Standard Motor’s Fourth-quarter 2017 adjusted earnings of 54 cents per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 39 cents. Total revenue of $240 million also the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $229 million. Standard Motor has been closing few of its existing facilities with an aim to reduce production-cost to boost results in the long term. Also, the company is making good progress towards achieving long-term strategic goals through plant consolidations and relocations. Standard Motor has promising long-term business prospects, which allow it to deploy capital effectively. However, the company’s Temperature Control segment witnessed a 5.5% year-over-year decline in revenues in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017. Also, Engine Management gross margin is under strain mainly due to the cost of the plant moves.”

A number of other brokerages have also weighed in on SMP. B. Riley reaffirmed a neutral rating on shares of Standard Motor Products in a research note on Wednesday, November 1st. FBR & Co reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $48.00 price target on shares of Standard Motor Products in a research note on Friday, October 27th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. Standard Motor Products currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $55.00.

Shares of Standard Motor Products (NYSE SMP) opened at $48.29 on Thursday. The firm has a market cap of $1,092.22, a P/E ratio of 29.81, a PEG ratio of 2.40 and a beta of 1.76. Standard Motor Products has a one year low of $40.56 and a one year high of $54.73.

Standard Motor Products (NYSE:SMP) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 20th. The auto parts company reported $0.54 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.38 by $0.16. The company had revenue of $239.98 million during the quarter. Standard Motor Products had a net margin of 3.40% and a return on equity of 14.15%. The company’s revenue was up 4.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.42 earnings per share. research analysts predict that Standard Motor Products will post 3.35 EPS for the current year.

Standard Motor Products announced that its board has approved a stock repurchase plan on Monday, November 20th that allows the company to buyback $10.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization allows the auto parts company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are typically an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, March 1st. Investors of record on Thursday, February 15th were paid a dividend of $0.21 per share. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, February 14th. This is a positive change from Standard Motor Products’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.19. This represents a $0.84 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.74%. Standard Motor Products’s dividend payout ratio is currently 51.85%.

In related news, Director John P. Gethin sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.50, for a total transaction of $247,500.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 20,850 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,032,075. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 6.60% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BlackRock Inc. lifted its stake in Standard Motor Products by 2.6% during the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 2,623,798 shares of the auto parts company’s stock valued at $117,834,000 after purchasing an additional 65,424 shares during the last quarter. Royce & Associates LP lifted its stake in Standard Motor Products by 2.3% during the fourth quarter. Royce & Associates LP now owns 2,114,514 shares of the auto parts company’s stock valued at $94,963,000 after purchasing an additional 47,128 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its stake in Standard Motor Products by 1.9% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 1,061,767 shares of the auto parts company’s stock valued at $55,445,000 after purchasing an additional 19,697 shares during the last quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. lifted its stake in Standard Motor Products by 13.4% during the third quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 578,293 shares of the auto parts company’s stock valued at $27,903,000 after purchasing an additional 68,130 shares during the last quarter. Finally, State Street Corp lifted its stake in Standard Motor Products by 2.7% during the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 497,020 shares of the auto parts company’s stock valued at $25,954,000 after purchasing an additional 13,034 shares during the last quarter. 80.53% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Standard Motor Products

Standard Motor Products, Inc is an independent manufacturer and distributor of replacement parts for motor vehicles in the automotive aftermarket industry with a complementary focus on heavy duty, industrial equipment and the original equipment service market. The Company’s segments include Engine Management Segment and Temperature Control Segment.

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