Shares of Sonic Automotive Inc (NYSE:SAH) have been assigned an average recommendation of “Hold” from the eight analysts that are currently covering the firm, Marketbeat reports. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell recommendation, three have assigned a hold recommendation and two have given a buy recommendation to the company. The average 12-month price objective among analysts that have covered the stock in the last year is $23.25.

Several brokerages recently issued reports on SAH. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Sonic Automotive from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $23.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Monday. Morgan Stanley lowered shares of Sonic Automotive from an “overweight” rating to an “underweight” rating and set a $25.00 price target on the stock. in a research note on Tuesday, July 10th.

In other Sonic Automotive news, CFO Heath Byrd sold 8,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, June 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $23.00, for a total transaction of $195,500.00. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now directly owns 153,535 shares in the company, valued at $3,531,305. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Chairman O Bruton Smith purchased 15,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, May 25th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $21.41 per share, for a total transaction of $321,150.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the chairman now directly owns 909,691 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $19,476,484.31. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. 32.30% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Prudential Financial Inc. grew its position in shares of Sonic Automotive by 13.4% during the first quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 460,382 shares of the company’s stock worth $8,725,000 after buying an additional 54,292 shares in the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System grew its position in shares of Sonic Automotive by 3.5% during the fourth quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 147,009 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,712,000 after buying an additional 4,907 shares in the last quarter. Stone Ridge Asset Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Sonic Automotive during the fourth quarter worth about $297,000. LSV Asset Management grew its position in shares of Sonic Automotive by 0.6% during the first quarter. LSV Asset Management now owns 2,382,476 shares of the company’s stock worth $45,147,000 after buying an additional 13,800 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Mutual Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of Sonic Automotive during the first quarter worth about $959,000. 63.62% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

SAH traded up $0.25 on Tuesday, hitting $20.40. The company had a trading volume of 129,800 shares, compared to its average volume of 237,818. The firm has a market cap of $857.67 million, a P/E ratio of 11.03, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.62 and a beta of 1.60. Sonic Automotive has a 1 year low of $15.95 and a 1 year high of $23.60. The company has a current ratio of 1.04, a quick ratio of 0.22 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.31.

Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, April 26th. The company reported $0.26 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $0.26. The firm had revenue of $2.40 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.35 billion. Sonic Automotive had a net margin of 0.92% and a return on equity of 11.09%. Sonic Automotive’s revenue was up 4.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.23 EPS. equities research analysts forecast that Sonic Automotive will post 2.26 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, July 13th. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 15th were paid a dividend of $0.06 per share. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, June 14th. This represents a $0.24 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.18%. Sonic Automotive’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 12.97%.

About Sonic Automotive

Sonic Automotive, Inc operates as an automotive retailer in the United States. It operates in two segments, Franchised Dealerships and Pre-Owned Stores. 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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