Sonic Automotive, Inc. (NYSE:SAH) Lifted to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Sonic Automotive, Inc. (NYSE:SAH) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday, October 17th.

According to Zacks, “Sonic Automotive is expanding its network of stores to boost sales. Also, the company actively pursues capital deployment strategies to boost shareholder value. The company plans to offset dilution caused by equity compensation awards through regular share repurchase programs. It is expected that over the long term, the company has the ability to enhance service capacity and raise revenues. However, the company has lowered down its 2017 estimates for new vehicle seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales, which is in the range of 16.5 million and 17 million vehicles, down from the previous expectation of 17 million to 17.5 million. This will have an adverse impact on the results of the company. Moreover, weakness in the Houston market, where Sonic Automotive has considerable exposure, is also likely to adversely impact its sales and profit.”

Several other equities research analysts have also commented on the company. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “hold” rating and set a $22.00 price target on shares of Sonic Automotive in a research note on Wednesday, July 19th. BidaskClub lowered Sonic Automotive from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, July 28th. Finally, KeyCorp restated a “hold” rating on shares of Sonic Automotive in a report on Friday, September 1st. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Sonic Automotive has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $23.67.

Shares of Sonic Automotive (SAH) traded up $0.35 during trading hours on Tuesday, hitting $20.75. 173,653 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 269,202. The company has a market cap of $881.18, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.07, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.71 and a beta of 1.54. The company has a quick ratio of 0.26, a current ratio of 1.06 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.41.

Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, October 24th. The company reported $0.40 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.40. The firm had revenue of $2.51 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.54 billion. Sonic Automotive had a return on equity of 10.47% and a net margin of 0.70%. Sonic Automotive’s revenue was down 2.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.47 earnings per share. analysts anticipate that Sonic Automotive will post 1.83 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In other news, EVP Jeff Dyke sold 8,551 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, October 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $20.10, for a total transaction of $171,875.10. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 1,262,056 shares in the company, valued at approximately $25,367,325.60. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CFO Heath Byrd sold 11,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, October 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $20.43, for a total transaction of $224,730.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 143,306 shares in the company, valued at $2,927,741.58. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 30.29% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its position in Sonic Automotive by 20.4% during the first quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 4,976 shares of the company’s stock worth $100,000 after acquiring an additional 844 shares during the period. State of Alaska Department of Revenue boosted its position in Sonic Automotive by 78.3% during the 2nd quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 5,153 shares of the company’s stock worth $100,000 after buying an additional 2,263 shares during the period. Mason Street Advisors LLC boosted its position in Sonic Automotive by 7.1% during the 1st quarter. Mason Street Advisors LLC now owns 6,146 shares of the company’s stock worth $123,000 after buying an additional 405 shares during the period. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio boosted its position in Sonic Automotive by 4.8% during the 1st quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 8,891 shares of the company’s stock worth $178,000 after buying an additional 410 shares during the period. Finally, BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA boosted its position in Sonic Automotive by 48.8% during the 2nd quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 9,359 shares of the company’s stock worth $182,000 after buying an additional 3,068 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 63.71% of the company’s stock.

Sonic Automotive Company Profile

Sonic Automotive, Inc is an automotive retailer in the United States. The Company’s operating segments include Franchised Dealerships and EchoPark. Its Franchised Dealerships segment consists of retail automotive franchises that sell new vehicles and buy and sell used vehicles, sell replacement parts, perform vehicle repair and maintenance services, and arrange finance and insurance products.

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Analyst Recommendations for Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH)

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