Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) Stock Rating Upgraded by Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley upgraded shares of Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) from an underweight rating to an equal rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday morning, Briefing.com Automated Import reports. The brokerage currently has $31.00 price objective on the stock, up from their prior price objective of $22.00.

SAH has been the subject of several other reports. Stephens set a $40.00 target price on shares of Sonic Automotive and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Friday, October 25th. ValuEngine lowered shares of Sonic Automotive from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Thursday, October 31st. Bank of America lowered shares of Sonic Automotive from a neutral rating to an underperform rating in a research note on Friday, September 13th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded shares of Sonic Automotive from an underweight rating to a neutral rating and upped their price target for the company from $23.00 to $30.00 in a research report on Tuesday, September 10th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $28.00.

SAH stock traded down $0.24 on Thursday, hitting $34.20. 202,434 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 411,261. Sonic Automotive has a 1-year low of $12.78 and a 1-year high of $35.41. The stock has a market cap of $1.49 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.17, a P/E/G ratio of 4.58 and a beta of 1.90. The stock has a fifty day moving average of $31.00 and a 200-day moving average of $25.81. The company has a current ratio of 1.04, a quick ratio of 0.25 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.31.

Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) last released its earnings results on Thursday, October 24th. The company reported $0.66 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.57 by $0.09. Sonic Automotive had a net margin of 1.16% and a return on equity of 12.20%. The business had revenue of $2.70 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.60 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.43 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 9.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Sonic Automotive will post 2.54 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, January 15th. Investors of record on Friday, December 13th will be given a $0.10 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 12th. This represents a $0.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.17%. Sonic Automotive’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 22.60%.

In related news, President Jeff Dyke sold 25,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $35.00, for a total value of $875,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the president now owns 1,265,003 shares in the company, valued at approximately $44,275,105. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 56,924 shares of company stock valued at $1,734,607. 31.60% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Invesco Ltd. increased its stake in Sonic Automotive by 72.1% in the 2nd quarter. Invesco Ltd. now owns 567,155 shares of the company’s stock valued at $13,243,000 after buying an additional 237,690 shares during the period. Nuveen Asset Management LLC acquired a new position in Sonic Automotive in the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $3,763,000. Marshall Wace LLP increased its stake in Sonic Automotive by 158.6% in the 2nd quarter. Marshall Wace LLP now owns 253,175 shares of the company’s stock valued at $5,912,000 after buying an additional 155,281 shares during the period. Marshall Wace North America L.P. acquired a new position in Sonic Automotive in the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $2,284,000. Finally, Mackay Shields LLC increased its stake in Sonic Automotive by 156.9% in the 3rd quarter. Mackay Shields LLC now owns 116,900 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,672,000 after buying an additional 71,400 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 60.31% of the company’s stock.

Sonic Automotive Company Profile

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.

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