KAR Auction Services Inc (KAR) Short Interest Down 51.8% in March

KAR Auction Services Inc (NYSE:KAR) saw a large decrease in short interest during the month of March. As of March 29th, there was short interest totalling 1,123,345 shares, a decrease of 51.8% from the March 15th total of 2,328,789 shares. Currently, 0.8% of the company’s shares are short sold. Based on an average daily volume of 974,583 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 1.2 days.

Several brokerages recently issued reports on KAR. Guggenheim began coverage on shares of KAR Auction Services in a research note on Tuesday. They set a “neutral” rating on the stock. Barrington Research reissued a “buy” rating on shares of KAR Auction Services in a research note on Wednesday, March 21st. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of KAR Auction Services from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $57.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, February 7th. Gabelli raised shares of KAR Auction Services from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, March 1st. Finally, Bank of America increased their target price on shares of KAR Auction Services from $60.00 to $66.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, March 2nd. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $58.89.

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In related news, COO Donald S. Gottwald sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, March 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $54.96, for a total transaction of $549,600.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider Rebecca C. Polak sold 44,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, March 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $56.20, for a total transaction of $2,472,800.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 90,390 shares in the company, valued at $5,079,918. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders sold 56,188 shares of company stock worth $3,140,552. Insiders own 1.30% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in KAR. Millennium Management LLC lifted its stake in shares of KAR Auction Services by 157.0% in the fourth quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 1,391,785 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $70,299,000 after buying an additional 850,204 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. lifted its stake in shares of KAR Auction Services by 13.3% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 7,018,588 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $354,508,000 after buying an additional 825,974 shares in the last quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. lifted its stake in shares of KAR Auction Services by 84.7% in the fourth quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now owns 1,631,960 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $82,430,000 after buying an additional 748,589 shares in the last quarter. Gates Capital Management Inc. lifted its stake in shares of KAR Auction Services by 75.2% in the fourth quarter. Gates Capital Management Inc. now owns 1,501,057 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $75,818,000 after buying an additional 644,093 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Mawer Investment Management Ltd. lifted its stake in shares of KAR Auction Services by 72.1% in the fourth quarter. Mawer Investment Management Ltd. now owns 920,010 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $46,470,000 after buying an additional 385,540 shares in the last quarter. 98.87% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

KAR Auction Services stock opened at $53.11 on Friday. KAR Auction Services has a 1-year low of $40.27 and a 1-year high of $56.75. The firm has a market capitalization of $7,155.93, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.24, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.63 and a beta of 1.11. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.80, a quick ratio of 1.31 and a current ratio of 1.31.

KAR Auction Services (NYSE:KAR) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, February 20th. The specialty retailer reported $0.63 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.53 by $0.10. KAR Auction Services had a net margin of 10.47% and a return on equity of 23.61%. The firm had revenue of $890.40 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $882.22 million. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.45 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 9.4% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts predict that KAR Auction Services will post 2.97 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, April 4th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 22nd were paid a $0.35 dividend. This represents a $1.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.64%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, March 21st. KAR Auction Services’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 56.00%.

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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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