The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Ford Motor, Lear, Tata Motors, Toyota Motor and Tesla Motors

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - February 17, 2017 - announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F - Free Report ), Lear Corporation (NYSE: LEA - Free Report ), Tata Motors Limited (NYSE: TTM - Free Report ), Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE: TM - Free Report ) and Tesla Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA - Free Report ).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Auto Stock Roundup: LEA, F, TTM, TM, TSLA

The auto sector saw mixed developments in the past week but most of the companies from this space witnessed positive stock price movement. Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F - Free Report ) announced new investments, while Lear Corporation (NYSE: LEA - Free Report ) increased its authorized share repurchase program and quarterly dividends.

However, Tata Motors Limited (NYSE: TTM - Free Report ) reported significantly weak quarterly results. Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE: TM - Free Report ) began the sales of its improved plug-in hybrid vehicle in Japan but also recalled all Mirai cars sold by it.

Tesla Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA - Free Report ) expanded into the Middle East with operations commencing in Dubai. The company also announced further expansion plans.

(Read the previous roundup here: Auto Stock Roundup for Feb 9, 2017 )

Recap of the Week's Most Important Stories

1. Ford has announced its decision to invest around $1 billion in Agro Al, an artificial intelligence company, over the next five years. The company is expected to develop a virtual driver system for Ford's autonomous vehicle, which is due to launch in 2021. Agro Al and Ford's autonomous vehicle software developers will collaborate to promote the commercialization of driverless cars. (Read more: Ford to Invest $1 Billion in Argo AI Over Next 5 years ).

Ford has also announced its decision to invest $200 million in an innovative aerodynamic testing facility that will simulate driving conditions to improve fuel economy. Construction of the 13-acre complex in Michigan is expected to commence this year.

Ford carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

2. Lear's current authorized share repurchase program has been increased to $1 billion and the repurchase period has been extended to Dec 31, 2019. The company began the program in 2011 and has bought back roughly 40% of its outstanding shares since, returning about $3.5 billion to shareholders.

Lear had roughly $341 million left under the repurchase program at the end of 2016. Moreover, the company has hiked its quarterly cash dividend on the common stock by 67%, increasing it from 30 cents a share to 50 cents.

Lear currently holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

3. Tata Motors recently reported results for the quarter ended Dec 31, 2016. The company's consolidated profit after tax for the quarter plunged 96.2% year over year. The company's bottom line was adversely affected by negative currency translations and a weak performance in the Jaguar Land Rover ("JLR") business segment. The JLR business witnessed weaker product mix and lower wholesale volumes in the quarter.

The company's commercial vehicles segment also saw lower demand due to the demonetization of high-value currencies in India. Management expects the JLR segment margins to be better in the next quarter, supported by new launches. However, it continues to face the risks related to Brexit as JLR units are primarily manufactured in the U.K. as well as the border tax that is being considered by the Trump administration.

Tata Motors currently carries a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

4. Toyota began sales of its revamped plug-in hybrid, Prius PHV, in Japan this week. The improved model has a longer cruising range and charges faster. The company began sales of the model in U.S. late last year under the name of Prius Prime. However, currently Toyota expects to sell just 2,500 PHV's per month in Japan. The company has sold over 10 million units of the Prius globally, since it went on sale in 1997.

Earlier in the week, Toyota also announced its decision to recall all 2,800 zero-emission Mirai cars that it has sold. The decision to recall the vehicles was due to problems in thier fuel cell system. The company will update the fuel cell system of the recalled cars at no expense to the customer.

Toyota carries a Zacks Rank #3.

5. Tesla has begun operations in Dubai, marking the company's entry into the Middle East. The company is currently taking orders online while a pop up store and a service centre in the city, due to open in July, are being constructed. Musk, Tesla CEO, also outlined plans to open a store and service centre in Abu Dhabi in 2018 and further expand to Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The vehicles, expected to start delivering by Jul 2017, can currently be charged at home or across 28 locations across UAE, which the company hopes to expand to 50 by the end of 2017.

Further, Dubai's Road & Transport Authority (RTA) has also announced its decision to purchase 200 vehicles from the company. The RTA will be buying Model S sedans and Model X SUVs to be used by the Dubai Taxi Corporation. (Read more: Tesla Inks Deal to Sell 200 Electric Vehicles to Dubai's RTA ).

Tesla carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1 Stock of the Day pick for free .

About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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Ford Motor Company (F): Free Stock Analysis Report

Lear Corporation (LEA): Free Stock Analysis Report

Tata Motors Ltd (TTM): Free Stock Analysis Report

Toyota Motor Corp Ltd Ord (TM): Free Stock Analysis Report

Tesla Motors, Inc. (TSLA): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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