StockNews.com Lowers Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) to Hold

StockNews.com downgraded shares of Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAHGet Rating) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Friday.

SAH has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Seaport Res Ptn downgraded Sonic Automotive from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a report on Friday, April 29th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Sonic Automotive from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating and set a $52.00 target price on the stock. in a report on Thursday, March 10th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded Sonic Automotive from an overweight rating to a neutral rating and reduced their target price for the stock from $70.00 to $57.00 in a report on Thursday, April 7th. Finally, Morgan Stanley boosted their price target on Sonic Automotive from $40.00 to $43.00 and gave the stock an underweight rating in a research report on Tuesday, March 8th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and four have assigned a hold rating to the company’s stock. Based on data from MarketBeat, the company presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $49.67.

Shares of NYSE:SAH opened at $43.10 on Friday. Sonic Automotive has a 1 year low of $38.64 and a 1 year high of $58.00. The company has a market cap of $1.71 billion, a PE ratio of 4.71 and a beta of 2.05. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.45, a current ratio of 1.10 and a quick ratio of 0.46. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $44.84 and its 200 day moving average is $47.76.

Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAHGet Rating) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 28th. The company reported $2.33 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.45 by ($0.12). Sonic Automotive had a net margin of 2.97% and a return on equity of 39.37%. The business had revenue of $3.59 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.70 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.23 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 28.7% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts expect that Sonic Automotive will post 10.23 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, July 15th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, June 15th will be given a $0.25 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, June 14th. This represents a $1.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.32%. Sonic Automotive’s dividend payout ratio is currently 10.92%.

In related news, President Jeff Dyke sold 2,769 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.00, for a total value of $143,988.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder Paul P. Rusnak acquired 127,475 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, April 6th. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $41.89 per share, for a total transaction of $5,339,927.75. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 5,000,000 shares in the company, valued at approximately $209,450,000. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Corporate insiders own 36.07% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in SAH. First Trust Advisors LP lifted its holdings in shares of Sonic Automotive by 2.1% during the 1st quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 43,986 shares of the company’s stock valued at $651,000 after buying an additional 885 shares during the period. Morgan Stanley lifted its holdings in shares of Sonic Automotive by 63.5% during the 2nd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 237,695 shares of the company’s stock valued at $10,633,000 after buying an additional 92,316 shares during the period. Deutsche Bank AG increased its stake in shares of Sonic Automotive by 81.6% in the 3rd quarter. Deutsche Bank AG now owns 37,995 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,996,000 after purchasing an additional 17,071 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in shares of Sonic Automotive by 2.1% in the 3rd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 4,050,565 shares of the company’s stock worth $212,816,000 after purchasing an additional 82,552 shares in the last quarter. Finally, KBC Group NV increased its stake in shares of Sonic Automotive by 449.6% in the 3rd quarter. KBC Group NV now owns 12,937 shares of the company’s stock worth $680,000 after purchasing an additional 10,583 shares in the last quarter. 59.34% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Sonic Automotive (Get Rating)

Sonic Automotive, Inc operates as an automotive retailer in the United States. It operates in two segments, Franchised Dealerships and EchoPark. The Franchised Dealerships segment is involved in the sale of new and used cars and light trucks, and replacement parts; provision of vehicle maintenance, manufacturer warranty repair, and paint and collision repair services; and arrangement of extended warranties, service contracts, financing, insurance, and other aftermarket products for its guests.

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