Sonic Automotive (SAH) Upgraded to Hold by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday. They currently have $23.00 price target on the stock.

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 weighed in on SAH. Bank of America downgraded Sonic Automotive from a neutral rating to an underperform rating in a report on Thursday, October 19th. ValuEngine upgraded Sonic Automotive from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Friday, December 1st. Finally, TheStreet upgraded Sonic Automotive from a c+ rating to a b rating in a report on Wednesday, October 18th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $22.75.

Shares of Sonic Automotive (NYSE SAH) remained flat at $$20.45 during trading on Tuesday. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 290,240 shares, compared to its average volume of 467,114. The company has a market capitalization of $904.95, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.11, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.35 and a beta of 1.57. 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 has a one year low of $15.95 and a one year high of $27.45.

Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) last announced its 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. The company had revenue of $2.51 billion for 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 for the quarter was down 2.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.47 earnings per share. sell-side analysts predict that Sonic Automotive will post 1.82 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, January 12th. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 15th will be paid a $0.05 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 14th. This represents a $0.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.98%. Sonic Automotive’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 12.82%.

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

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of SAH. Russell Investments Group Ltd. lifted its position in shares of Sonic Automotive by 13.8% during the 2nd quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 31,475 shares of the company’s stock worth $612,000 after purchasing an additional 3,809 shares during the last quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. lifted its position in shares of Sonic Automotive by 11.6% during the 2nd quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 397,632 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,734,000 after purchasing an additional 41,219 shares during the last quarter. Legal & General Group Plc lifted its position in shares of Sonic Automotive by 1.0% during the 2nd quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 111,817 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,173,000 after purchasing an additional 1,060 shares during the last quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA lifted its position in shares of 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 purchasing an additional 3,068 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Victory Capital Management Inc. raised its holdings in 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 in the last quarter. 64.40% of the stock is 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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