KAR Auction Services Inc. (NYSE:KAR) shares hit a new 52-week high during mid-day trading on Friday . The stock traded as high as $42.26 and last traded at $42.14, with a volume of 446,655 shares traded. The stock had previously closed at $41.52.

Several research analysts recently issued reports on the stock. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of KAR Auction Services from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $46.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Wednesday. Sterne Agee CRT reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $45.00 price target on shares of KAR Auction Services in a research report on Friday, May 20th. Jefferies Group reissued a “buy” rating and set a $47.00 price objective (up from $45.00) on shares of KAR Auction Services in a report on Thursday, May 5th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. reissued a “buy” rating on shares of KAR Auction Services in a report on Wednesday, May 4th. One analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $42.17.

The company has a market capitalization of $5.79 billion and a P/E ratio of 26.86. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $40.67 and its 200 day moving average price is $37.43.

KAR Auction Services (NYSE:KAR) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, May 3rd. The company reported $0.55 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.50 by $0.05. The business earned $745 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $695.79 million. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 17.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.47 earnings per share. Equities analysts predict that KAR Auction Services Inc. will post $2.14 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, July 5th. Investors of record on Wednesday, June 22nd were paid a $0.29 dividend. This represents a $1.16 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.79%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, June 20th.

In other news, CEO John C. Hammer sold 7,500 shares of KAR Auction Services stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, April 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $39.00, for a total transaction of $292,500.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 7,500 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $292,500. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, CEO Hilaire Stephane St. sold 59,355 shares of KAR Auction Services stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $39.52, for a total value of $2,345,709.60. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 5,000 shares in the company, valued at $197,600. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in KAR. Victory Capital Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of KAR Auction Services by 2.4% in the fourth quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 27,216 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,008,000 after buying an additional 641 shares during the last quarter. Rhumbline Advisers raised its stake in shares of KAR Auction Services by 0.9% in the fourth quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 114,971 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,257,000 after buying an additional 995 shares during the last quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. raised its position in KAR Auction Services by 8.1% in the fourth quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. now owns 34,119 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,263,000 after buying an additional 2,556 shares in the last quarter. MUFG Americas raised its position in KAR Auction Services by 5.3% in the third quarter. MUFG Americas now owns 55,743 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,994,000 after buying an additional 2,810 shares in the last quarter. Finally, California State Teachers Retirement System raised its position in KAR Auction Services by 1.5% in the fourth quarter. California State Teachers Retirement System now owns 268,291 shares of the company’s stock worth $9,935,000 after buying an additional 4,095 shares in the last quarter.

KAR Auction Services, Inc is a provider of vehicle auction services in North America. We operate as three reportable business segments: ADESA, Inc (ADESA Auctions), Insurance Auto Auctions, Inc (IAA) and Automotive Finance Corporation (AFC). ADESA Auctions is a provider of whole car auctions and related services to the vehicle remarketing industry in North America.

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