Sonic Automotive (SAH) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday, January 9th. The firm presently has a $23.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price suggests a potential upside of 4.78% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Sonic Automotive 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, weakness in the Houston market, where Sonic Automotive has considerable exposure, is also likely to adversely impact its sales and profit. In the last six months, the company's shares have underperformed in the industry it belongs to.”

A number of other brokerages also recently issued reports on SAH. Bank of America downgraded shares of Sonic Automotive from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 19th. ValuEngine raised shares of Sonic Automotive from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, December 1st. Finally, TheStreet raised shares of Sonic Automotive from a “c+” rating to a “b” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 18th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $22.75.

Shares of Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) traded up $0.45 during trading on Tuesday, reaching $21.95. 202,250 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 309,660. Sonic Automotive has a one year low of $15.95 and a one year high of $27.45. The company has a quick ratio of 0.26, a current ratio of 1.06 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.41. The stock has a market capitalization of $928.69, a P/E ratio of 14.35, a P/E/G ratio of 3.39 and a beta of 1.57.

Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 24th. The company reported $0.40 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.40. Sonic Automotive had a net margin of 0.70% and a return on equity of 10.47%. The company had revenue of $2.51 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.54 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.47 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 2.0% on a year-over-year basis. analysts predict that Sonic Automotive will post 1.82 EPS for the current year.

In other news, EVP Jeff Dyke sold 8,551 shares of Sonic Automotive stock in a transaction on Tuesday, October 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $20.10, for a total value of $171,875.10. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 1,262,056 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $25,367,325.60. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CFO Heath Byrd sold 11,000 shares of Sonic Automotive stock in a transaction on 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 directly owns 143,306 shares in the company, valued at $2,927,741.58. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 30.29% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in SAH. Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Sonic Automotive by 17.6% in the 2nd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 5,854 shares of the company’s stock valued at $114,000 after acquiring an additional 878 shares during the period. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA increased its stake in Sonic Automotive by 48.8% in the 2nd quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 9,359 shares of the company’s stock valued at $182,000 after buying an additional 3,068 shares during the period. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio increased its stake in Sonic Automotive by 7.0% in the 2nd quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 9,515 shares of the company’s stock valued at $185,000 after buying an additional 624 shares during the period. Laurion Capital Management LP acquired a new position in Sonic Automotive in the 2nd quarter valued at $203,000. Finally, Jane Street Group LLC acquired a new position in Sonic Automotive in the 3rd quarter valued at $260,000. 64.40% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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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