Asbury Automotive Group (ABG) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Asbury Automotive Group (NYSE:ABG) from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating in a report published on Friday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $78.00 target price on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. is one of the largest automotive retailers. Asbury offers customers an extensive range of automotive products and services, including new and used vehicle sales and related financing and insurance, vehicle maintenance and repair services, replacement parts and service contracts. They sell used vehicles at all franchised dealership locations and stand-alone stores. Used vehicle sales include the sale of used vehicles to individual retail customers and the sale of used vehicles to other dealers at auction. They provide vehicle repair and maintenance services, sell replacement parts, and recondition used vehicles at all of our dealerships. “

ABG has been the subject of a number of other research reports. Jefferies Group reiterated a hold rating and set a $61.00 price target on shares of Asbury Automotive Group in a research report on Thursday, October 12th. Craig Hallum lifted their price target on Asbury Automotive Group from $55.00 to $67.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, February 7th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating, one has issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $63.40.

Shares of Asbury Automotive Group (NYSE ABG) opened at $69.15 on Friday. The stock has a market capitalization of $1,440.00, a PE ratio of 10.41, a PEG ratio of 0.88 and a beta of 1.58. The company has a current ratio of 1.25, a quick ratio of 0.38 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.60. Asbury Automotive Group has a 12-month low of $49.10 and a 12-month high of $76.40.

Asbury Automotive Group (NYSE:ABG) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 6th. The company reported $1.81 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.60 by $0.21. The firm had revenue of $1.67 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.68 billion. Asbury Automotive Group had a return on equity of 42.06% and a net margin of 2.15%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up .3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $1.56 EPS. sell-side analysts forecast that Asbury Automotive Group will post 7.06 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, Director Craig T. Monaghan sold 28,575 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $68.70, for a total transaction of $1,963,102.50. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 86,112 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $5,915,894.40. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Craig T. Monaghan sold 15,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, February 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $68.57, for a total value of $1,028,550.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 86,112 shares in the company, valued at $5,904,699.84. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 45,075 shares of company stock worth $3,090,893. 11.90% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in ABG. Schroder Investment Management Group purchased a new position in shares of Asbury Automotive Group during the 4th quarter valued at about $19,860,000. Koch Industries Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Asbury Automotive Group during the 2nd quarter valued at about $294,000. First Manhattan Co. purchased a new position in shares of Asbury Automotive Group during the 4th quarter valued at about $15,909,000. BlackRock Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Asbury Automotive Group by 6.2% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 2,671,470 shares of the company’s stock valued at $151,072,000 after buying an additional 156,996 shares in the last quarter. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its holdings in shares of Asbury Automotive Group by 60.6% during the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 193,201 shares of the company’s stock valued at $11,872,000 after buying an additional 72,887 shares in the last quarter.

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About Asbury Automotive Group

Asbury Automotive Group, Inc is an automotive retailer in the United States. As of December 31, 2016, the Company owned and operated 93 new vehicle franchises, representing 28 brands of automobiles at 77 dealership locations, and 23 collision centers in the United States. In addition, as of December 31, 2016, it owned and operated two standalone used vehicle stores in Florida.

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