LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ:TREE – Get Rating) was the target of a sharp hike in short interest rates in April. On April 15, there was short interest totaling 858,600 shares, a 14.8% increase from the March 31 total of 747,700 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 281,200 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 3.1 days. Currently 8.0% of shares of the stock are shorted.
LendingTree Trading up 4.7%
TREE shares rose $1.08 on Friday midday to hit $23.83. The company’s shares had a trading volume of 188,222 shares compared to an average volume of 276,127. The company has a leverage ratio of 3.91, a quick ratio of 5.02 and a current ratio of 5.02. The stock has a 50-day simple moving average of $27.76 and a 200-day simple moving average of $27.33. LendingTree has a 1-year low of $17.59 and a 1-year high of $86.16. The company has a market cap of $305.26 million, a price to earnings ratio of -1.62 and a beta of 1.90.
LendingTree (NASDAQ:TREE – Get Rating) last released its quarterly earnings data on Monday, February 27th. The financial services firm reported earnings per share of $0.38 for the quarter, beating analyst consensus estimates of ($0.34) by $0.72. LendingTree had a negative return on equity of 14.55% and a negative net margin of 19.08%. The company had revenue of $202.10 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $208.13 million. In the same quarter last year, the company made earnings per share ($1.23). The company’s revenue for the quarter declined 21.8% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equity analysts are forecasting that LendingTree will post -3.02 EPS for the year to date.
Insider activity at LendingTree
In other news from LendingTree, CEO Douglas R. Lebda acquired 18,268 shares of the company’s shares in a transaction on Monday, January 30th. Shares were purchased at an average price of $38.63 per share for a total value of $705,692.84. Upon completion of the purchase, the Chief Executive Officer now owns 214,859 shares of the Company, valued at approximately $8,300,003.17. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed at this link. 17.90% of the shares are currently owned by insiders.
Institutional investors rely on LendingTree
Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Bank of Montreal Can increased its stake in LendingTree by 5.1% in the first quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 3,533 shares of the financial services provider, valued at $434,000, after purchasing an additional 173 shares last quarter. Captrust Financial Advisors increased its stake in LendingTree shares by 59.1% during the second quarter. Captrust Financial Advisors now owns 719 shares of the financial services provider, valued at $32,000, after purchasing an additional 267 shares last quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans increased its stake in LendingTree shares by 4.2% in the third quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 11,235 shares of the financial services provider, valued at $268,000, after purchasing an additional 449 shares last quarter. Legal & General Group Plc increased its stake in LendingTree shares by 1.9% in the fourth quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 26,753 shares of the financial services provider, valued at $571,000, after buying another 491 shares last quarter. Finally, Money Concepts Capital Corp increased its position in LendingTree by 23.6% in the third quarter. Money Concepts Capital Corp now owns 2,656 shares of the financial services provider, valued at $63,000, after purchasing an additional 508 shares last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 83.16% of the company’s shares.
Wall Street analysts are weighing
A number of brokers have recently commented on TREE. Needham & Company LLC increased its price target on LendingTree shares to $45.00 from $32.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, February 27. Susquehanna lowered LendingTree from a “positive” rating to a “neutral” rating and lowered its price target on the stock to $36.00 from $46.00 in a research report Tuesday, February 28. Stephens issued an overweight rating and a price target of $48.00 on shares of LendingTree in a research report on Thursday, March 30th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods increased its price target on LendingTree to $34.00 from $25.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 28. Finally, Oppenheimer raised its price target on LendingTree shares to $40.00 from $35.00 and gave the company a “Outperform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 28. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company. According to data from MarketBeat.com, the stock has a consensus rating of Moderate Buy and a consensus price target of $69.56.
LendingTree, Inc operates an online credit marketplace for consumers seeking credit and other credit-based offerings. It operates through the following segments: Household, Consumer and Insurance. The Home segment refers to purchase mortgages, refinance mortgages, home equity loans and lines of credit, and reverse mortgage loans and real estate.
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