Sonic Automotive Inc. (NYSE:SAH) shares saw unusually-strong trading volume on Tuesday . Approximately 592,830 shares changed hands during mid-day trading, an increase of 48% from the previous session’s volume of 399,669 shares.The stock last traded at $17.01 and had previously closed at $17.06.

Separately, Zacks Investment Research cut Sonic Automotive from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, June 28th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Sonic Automotive currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $23.75.

The stock has a market cap of $773.05 million and a price-to-earnings ratio of 8.65. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $17.72 and a 200-day moving average price of $17.74.

Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $0.50 EPS for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.50. The firm had revenue of $2.38 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.48 billion. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 1.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.46 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts forecast that Sonic Automotive Inc. will post $2.10 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 14th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, September 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.05 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $0.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.18%.

In other news, insider O Bruton Smith acquired 50,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 24th. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $16.83 per share, for a total transaction of $841,500.00. Following the acquisition, the insider now directly owns 525,242 shares in the company, valued at approximately $8,839,822.86. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink.

An institutional investor recently raised its position in Sonic Automotive stock. Morgan Stanley raised its position in Sonic Automotive Inc. (NYSE:SAH) by 3.2% during the fourth quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The firm owned 571,049 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 17,663 shares during the period. Morgan Stanley owned approximately 1.15% of Sonic Automotive worth $12,997,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Sonic Automotive, Inc is an automotive retailer in the United States. The Company’s operating segments include Franchised Dealerships and EchoPark. The Company’s Franchised Dealerships segment consists of traditional retail automotive franchises that sell new and used vehicles, replacement parts and vehicle repair and maintenance services, and finance and insurance products.

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