Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Lendingtree (TREE) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Lendingtree (NASDAQ:TREE) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Shares of LendingTree have underperformed the industry over the past six months. The company has a decent earnings surprise history, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate in two of the trailing four quarters. LendingTree’s expansion strategies are expected to boost its top line growth. Also, its focus to expand non-mortgage related product offerings has benefitted its top line greatly. Further, reduced dependence on mortgage revenues remains a tailwind. However, the company has been witnessing escalating costs on enhancement of products and its mortgage-related product revenues are likely to be affected by falling supplies of homes for sale and rising mortgage rates.”

Several other research analysts have also issued reports on the stock. BidaskClub lowered shares of Lendingtree from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Saturday, September 15th. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Lendingtree from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 12th. Deutsche Bank reduced their price objective on shares of Lendingtree from $290.00 to $270.00 and set a hold rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, August 16th. Northland Securities downgraded shares of Lendingtree from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a research report on Friday, July 27th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a buy rating on shares of Lendingtree in a research report on Friday, July 27th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Lendingtree presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $327.76.

Lendingtree stock traded down $0.95 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $222.10. 1,087 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 133,796. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.70, a quick ratio of 3.59 and a current ratio of 3.59. Lendingtree has a 12 month low of $205.45 and a 12 month high of $404.40. The firm has a market cap of $2.93 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 74.49, a PEG ratio of 1.51 and a beta of 2.07.

Lendingtree (NASDAQ:TREE) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 26th. The financial services provider reported $1.47 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.78 by $0.69. Lendingtree had a net margin of 10.82% and a return on equity of 12.09%. The firm had revenue of $184.10 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $194.88 million. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.90 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 20.5% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts predict that Lendingtree will post 3.62 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, CEO Douglas R. Lebda sold 14,750 shares of Lendingtree stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $216.09, for a total value of $3,187,327.50. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 534,354 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $115,468,555.86. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director Peter Horan sold 1,000 shares of Lendingtree stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $244.51, for a total transaction of $244,510.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 24,015 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $5,871,907.65. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 74,752 shares of company stock valued at $17,048,780. 20.50% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of TREE. Swiss National Bank grew its position in Lendingtree by 3.0% in the 1st quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 13,550 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $4,446,000 after purchasing an additional 400 shares during the period. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. grew its position in Lendingtree by 13.3% in the 1st quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 38,594 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $12,665,000 after purchasing an additional 4,525 shares during the period. Aperio Group LLC grew its position in Lendingtree by 33.4% in the 1st quarter. Aperio Group LLC now owns 1,342 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $440,000 after purchasing an additional 336 shares during the period. Northern Trust Corp grew its position in Lendingtree by 25.9% in the 1st quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 107,753 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $35,359,000 after purchasing an additional 22,153 shares during the period. Finally, Federated Investors Inc. PA acquired a new stake in Lendingtree in the 1st quarter valued at $1,260,000. 84.22% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Lendingtree Company Profile

LendingTree, Inc, through its subsidiary, LendingTree, LLC, operates an online loan marketplace for consumers seeking loans and other credit-based offerings in the United States. Its mortgage products comprise purchase and refinance products. The company also provides information, tools, and access to various conditional loan offers for non-mortgage products, including auto loans, credit cards, home equity loans, personal loans, reverse mortgages, small business loans, and student loans.

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