KAR Auction Services, Inc (KAR) Upgraded to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of KAR Auction Services, Inc (NYSE:KAR) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Wednesday, November 8th. The firm currently has $55.00 price objective on the specialty retailer’s stock.

According to Zacks, “KAR Auction Services, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates as a used vehicle and salvage auto auction company in North America. The company operates in three segments: ADESA, IAAI, and AFC. The ADESA segment provides whole car auctions and related services to commercial fleet operators, financial institutions, rental car companies, used vehicle dealers, vehicle manufacturers and their captive finance companies, and franchised and independent used vehicle dealers. This segment also provides value-added ancillary services, such as inspections, storage, transportation, reconditioning and titling, and other administrative services. The IAAI segment offers salvage vehicle auctions and related services. The AFC segment offers short-term and inventory-secured financing, known as floorplan financing, to independent used vehicle dealers. KAR Auction Services, Inc. is headquartered in Carmel, Indiana. “

Several other brokerages also recently weighed in on KAR. Stephens downgraded shares of KAR Auction Services from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating and decreased their target price for the stock from $51.00 to $48.00 in a research note on Thursday, September 7th. J P Morgan Chase & Co increased their target price on shares of KAR Auction Services from $52.00 to $55.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research note on Monday, October 30th. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a buy rating and set a $50.00 price target on shares of KAR Auction Services in a report on Tuesday, September 12th. BidaskClub raised shares of KAR Auction Services from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a report on Monday, July 24th. Finally, Gabelli cut shares of KAR Auction Services from a buy rating to a hold rating and set a $53.00 price target for the company. in a report on Thursday, November 2nd. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. KAR Auction Services currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $52.20.

Shares of KAR Auction Services (NYSE KAR) traded down $0.46 on Wednesday, hitting $48.36. 712,608 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 953,142. KAR Auction Services has a twelve month low of $40.27 and a twelve month high of $49.38. The firm has a market capitalization of $6,540.00, a P/E ratio of 21.32, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.54 and a beta of 1.08. The company has a quick ratio of 1.35, a current ratio of 1.35 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.90.

KAR Auction Services (NYSE:KAR) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, October 31st. The specialty retailer reported $0.57 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.51 by $0.06. KAR Auction Services had a net margin of 6.94% and a return on equity of 22.37%. The business had revenue of $843.00 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $846.42 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.50 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 6.8% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts forecast that KAR Auction Services will post 2.36 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, January 5th. Investors of record on Wednesday, December 20th will be issued a dividend of $0.35 per share. This is a boost from KAR Auction Services’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.32. This represents a $1.40 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.89%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, December 19th. KAR Auction Services’s dividend payout ratio is currently 75.29%.

In related news, EVP Benjamin Skuy sold 12,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $48.50, for a total transaction of $582,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, COO Donald S. Gottwald sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $48.14, for a total transaction of $481,400.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 1.30% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Archford Capital Strategies LLC increased its holdings in KAR Auction Services by 832.0% in the second quarter. Archford Capital Strategies LLC now owns 932 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $103,000 after buying an additional 832 shares in the last quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC purchased a new position in KAR Auction Services in the second quarter valued at about $118,000. KBC Group NV increased its holdings in KAR Auction Services by 81.5% in the third quarter. KBC Group NV now owns 2,696 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $129,000 after buying an additional 1,211 shares in the last quarter. CENTRAL TRUST Co purchased a new position in KAR Auction Services in the second quarter valued at about $150,000. Finally, PNC Financial Services Group Inc. increased its holdings in KAR Auction Services by 105.6% in the second quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 4,063 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $171,000 after buying an additional 2,087 shares in the last quarter. 98.57% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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About KAR Auction Services

KAR Auction Services, Inc is a provider of whole car auction services in North America, and salvage auction services in North America and the United Kingdom. The Company operates through three segments: ADESA, Inc (ADESA Auctions or ADESA), Insurance Auto Auctions, Inc (IAA) and Automotive Finance Corporation (AFC).

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