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Lear Reaches 52-Week High

Zacks Equity Research

Shares of Lear Corp. (LEA) hit a new 52-week high of $62.29 on Jul 1, which is above its previous level of $61.51 on May 22, and closed at $61.55 on the same date. The closing price represented a strong one-year return of 65.2% and year-to-date return of 30.5%.

Lear Corporation designs, manufactures, assembles and supplies automotive seat systems, electrical distribution systems, and related components primarily to automotive original equipment manufacturers mainly in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. It has a market cap of $5.6 billion. Average volume of shares traded over the last three months stood at approximately 1,011.6K.

Shares of LEA started escalating due to improving fundamentals in the automobile parts market. However, the company failed to impress investors with its first-quarter results on Apr 25.

Lear posted a 5.8% fall in adjusted earnings per share to $1.30 in the first quarter of 2013 from $1.38 in the corresponding quarter last year. However, earnings per share comfortably outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.09. Net income declined 11.1% to $124.4 million from $140.0 million in the year-ago quarter.

Revenues increased 8.3% to $3.9 million in the reported quarter, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.7 million. However, global industry production decreased 1% year over year, with an 8% fall in Europe. Production improved 12% in China and 1% in North America.

Not only Lear, shares of other auto parts maker such as Magna International Inc. (MGA), Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI) and BorgWarner Inc. (BWA) are also reaching 52-week highs due to continuous improvements in the market. Investors believe that the recessionary conditions in the industry no longer exist.

Two of the company’s biggest markets, North America (which contributed 39.2% to its 2012 revenues) and Europe (35.0%) are expected to rebound significantly in the coming years. Further, Lear’s three largest customers – GM, Ford and BMW, together accounting for more than 50% of revenues – are expected to perform well in the near-term

Currently, LEA retains a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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