Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) Lifted to “Buy” at

Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH – Get Rating) was upgraded by equities researchers at from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Friday.

Other equities research analysts have also issued research reports about the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lowered Sonic Automotive from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and reduced their price target for the company from $70.00 to $57.00 in a research report on Thursday, April 7th. Morgan Stanley lowered their target price on Sonic Automotive from $43.00 to $40.00 in a research note on Friday, May 20th. Finally, Seaport Res Ptn cut Sonic Automotive from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Friday, April 29th.

Shares of SAH traded up $1.90 during trading hours on Friday, hitting $36.53. 865,060 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 373,735. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.45, a quick ratio of 0.46 and a current ratio of 1.10. Sonic Automotive has a 12-month low of $34.28 and a 12-month high of $58.00. The company has a market cap of $1.45 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 3.99 and a beta of 2.05. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $44.11 and its two-hundred day moving average price is $46.98.

Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH – Get Rating) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, April 28th. The company reported $2.33 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $2.45 by ($0.12). The company had revenue of $3.59 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.70 billion. Sonic Automotive had a net margin of 2.97% and a return on equity of 39.37%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 28.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $1.23 earnings per share. On average, research analysts expect that Sonic Automotive will post 10.13 earnings per share for the current year.

In other news, major shareholder Paul P. Rusnak acquired 127,475 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, April 6th. The shares were purchased at an average price of $41.89 per share, for a total transaction of $5,339,927.75. Following the completion of the purchase, the insider now directly owns 5,000,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $209,450,000. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Insiders own 36.07% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of SAH. Wolverine Asset Management LLC raised its holdings in Sonic Automotive by 81.3% during the 4th quarter. Wolverine Asset Management LLC now owns 27,975 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,383,000 after buying an additional 12,545 shares during the period. First Eagle Investment Management LLC lifted its holdings in Sonic Automotive by 78.0% in the 4th quarter. First Eagle Investment Management LLC now owns 7,987 shares of the company’s stock worth $395,000 after purchasing an additional 3,500 shares during the last quarter. ETF Managers Group LLC acquired a new position in shares of Sonic Automotive during the fourth quarter worth approximately $646,000. Quantedge Capital Pte Ltd acquired a new position in shares of Sonic Automotive during the fourth quarter worth approximately $1,617,000. Finally, NorthCrest Asset Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Sonic Automotive during the fourth quarter worth approximately $878,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 59.34% of the company’s stock.

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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