Sonic Automotive (SAH) Raised to “Neutral” at Bank of America

Bank of America upgraded shares of Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) from an underperform rating to a neutral rating in a research report released on Monday morning, MarketBeat Ratings reports. Bank of America currently has $23.00 target price on the stock.

A number of other brokerages have also commented on SAH. Zacks Investment Research raised Sonic Automotive from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 17th. ValuEngine raised Sonic Automotive from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Friday, December 1st. Finally, TheStreet raised Sonic Automotive from a c+ rating to a b rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 18th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $22.75.

Sonic Automotive (SAH) traded up $1.15 during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $21.60. The stock had a trading volume of 482,800 shares, compared to its average volume of 469,075. Sonic Automotive has a 1 year low of $15.95 and a 1 year high of $27.45. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.41, a quick ratio of 0.26 and a current ratio of 1.06. The company has a market cap of $933.02, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.85, a PEG ratio of 3.35 and a beta of 1.57.

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

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, January 12th. Investors of record on Friday, December 15th will be given a $0.05 dividend. This represents a $0.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.93%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 14th. Sonic Automotive’s payout ratio is 12.82%.

In other Sonic Automotive news, CFO Heath Byrd sold 11,000 shares of Sonic Automotive stock in a transaction dated Friday, October 27th. The stock was 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 owns 143,306 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,927,741.58. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Jeff Dyke sold 8,551 shares of Sonic Automotive stock in a transaction dated 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 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.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in SAH. Northern Trust Corp boosted its stake in Sonic Automotive by 23.6% during the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 1,201,056 shares of the company’s stock valued at $23,360,000 after purchasing an additional 228,935 shares during the last quarter. Towle & Co. boosted its stake in Sonic Automotive by 18.8% during the 3rd quarter. Towle & Co. now owns 1,122,759 shares of the company’s stock valued at $22,904,000 after purchasing an additional 177,535 shares during the last quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. boosted its stake in Sonic Automotive by 49.4% during the 2nd quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 422,930 shares of the company’s stock valued at $8,226,000 after purchasing an additional 139,778 shares during the last quarter. Elliott Management Corp boosted its stake in Sonic Automotive by 17.6% during the 2nd quarter. Elliott Management Corp now owns 892,275 shares of the company’s stock valued at $17,355,000 after purchasing an additional 133,700 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in Sonic Automotive by 3.0% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 2,415,314 shares of the company’s stock valued at $46,977,000 after purchasing an additional 71,059 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 64.40% of the company’s stock.

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About Sonic Automotive

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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