Virtus Fund Advisers LLC decreased its stake in Sonic Co. (NASDAQ:SONC) by 41.0% in the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 1,148,122 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock after selling 797,767 shares during the quarter. Virtus Fund Advisers LLC’s holdings in Sonic were worth $31,550,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
A number of other hedge funds also recently added to or reduced their stakes in SONC. Wells Fargo & Company MN lifted its position in Sonic by 28.7% in the 2nd quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 79,892 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $2,116,000 after buying an additional 17,822 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Sonic by 1.2% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 3,596,500 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $95,272,000 after purchasing an additional 43,146 shares in the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System raised its holdings in shares of Sonic by 2.0% during the 2nd quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 111,900 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $2,964,000 after purchasing an additional 2,200 shares in the last quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC raised its holdings in shares of Sonic by 55.4% during the 2nd quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 101,833 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $2,698,000 after purchasing an additional 36,304 shares in the last quarter. Finally, State Street Corp raised its holdings in shares of Sonic by 2.0% during the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 1,083,561 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $28,707,000 after purchasing an additional 21,420 shares in the last quarter.
In related news, Director Frank E. Richardson III sold 50,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, December 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $28.40, for a total value of $1,420,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Federico F. Pena sold 9,686 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, February 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $24.61, for a total transaction of $238,372.46. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 130,687 shares of company stock worth $3,586,167 over the last quarter. 8.28% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.
Sonic Co. (NASDAQ:SONC) opened at $24.73 on Tuesday. Sonic Co. has a 12 month low of $22.11 and a 12 month high of $30.05. The company has a quick ratio of 1.81, a current ratio of 1.81 and a debt-to-equity ratio of -2.87. The stock has a market cap of $951.07, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.71, a P/E/G ratio of 1.10 and a beta of 1.59.
Sonic (NASDAQ:SONC) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, January 4th. The restaurant operator reported $0.30 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.25 by $0.05. Sonic had a net margin of 13.68% and a negative return on equity of 28.95%. The business had revenue of $105.40 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $106.86 million. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.24 EPS. Sonic’s revenue was down 18.7% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts anticipate that Sonic Co. will post 1.53 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
Sonic declared that its board has initiated a share repurchase plan on Thursday, October 26th that permits the company to repurchase $160.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the restaurant operator to repurchase up to 14.9% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are generally a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, February 16th. Investors of record on Wednesday, February 7th were paid a $0.16 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, February 6th. This represents a $0.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.59%. Sonic’s payout ratio is presently 43.24%.
A number of research firms have recently weighed in on SONC. Telsey Advisory Group restated a “market perform” rating and set a $31.00 price target (up previously from $27.00) on shares of Sonic in a report on Friday, January 5th. Cowen restated a “hold” rating and set a $29.00 price target on shares of Sonic in a report on Tuesday, January 9th. Barclays raised their price target on shares of Sonic from $27.00 to $28.00 and gave the company an “underweight” rating in a report on Tuesday, January 16th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Sonic from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, November 3rd. Finally, BidaskClub upgraded shares of Sonic from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Saturday, December 2nd. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $29.64.
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Sonic Corp. operates and franchises the chain of drive-thru restaurants (Sonic Drive-Ins) in the United States. As of August 31, 2016, 3,557 Sonic Drive-Ins were in operation from coast to coast in 45 states, consisting of 345 Company drive-thrus and 3,212 franchise drive-thrus. As of August 31, 2016, its restaurant design and construction consisted of a kitchen housed in a one-story building, which was approximately 1,500 square feet, flanked by canopy-covered rows of 16 to 24 parking spaces, with each space having its own payment terminal, intercom speaker system and menu board.
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