AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE:AN)‘s stock had its “hold” rating reiterated by equities researchers at Jefferies Group LLC in a research report issued on Sunday. They currently have a $44.00 target price on the stock. Jefferies Group LLC’s price target would indicate a potential downside of 2.00% from the company’s previous close.

Several other research firms also recently commented on AN. ValuEngine downgraded shares of AutoNation from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, September 1st. KeyCorp reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of AutoNation in a research note on Friday, September 1st. Wells Fargo & Company reiterated a “market perform” rating and set a $45.00 price objective (down from $48.50) on shares of AutoNation in a research note on Monday, July 17th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of AutoNation from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Monday, August 14th. Finally, Morgan Stanley lowered their price objective on shares of AutoNation from $57.00 to $53.00 and set an “overweight” rating for the company in a research note on Friday, June 9th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $45.70.

Shares of AutoNation (NYSE:AN) opened at 44.90 on Friday. AutoNation has a 52 week low of $38.20 and a 52 week high of $53.74. The stock has a market capitalization of $4.51 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.18 and a beta of 1.22. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $42.28 and its 200-day moving average is $42.05.

AutoNation (NYSE:AN) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 2nd. The company reported $0.86 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.98 by $0.12. AutoNation had a return on equity of 16.71% and a net margin of 1.90%. The company had revenue of $5.28 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.56 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $1.08 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 3.0% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts forecast that AutoNation will post $3.59 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

AutoNation declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock buyback program on Tuesday, August 29th that allows the company to buyback $250.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to reacquire up to 6% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are usually an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

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In related news, Director Robert R. Grusky sold 2,800 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $38.99, for a total transaction of $109,172.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 30,713 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,197,499.87. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Company insiders own 3.10% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its holdings in AutoNation by 2.2% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 6,785,538 shares of the company’s stock valued at $286,078,000 after buying an additional 147,424 shares in the last quarter. Artisan Partners Limited Partnership increased its holdings in AutoNation by 76.5% in the second quarter. Artisan Partners Limited Partnership now owns 5,181,954 shares of the company’s stock valued at $218,471,000 after buying an additional 2,245,935 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in AutoNation by 0.4% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 4,192,696 shares of the company’s stock valued at $176,762,000 after buying an additional 17,314 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp increased its holdings in AutoNation by 2.5% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 3,279,144 shares of the company’s stock valued at $138,665,000 after buying an additional 79,834 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Orbis Allan Gray Ltd increased its holdings in AutoNation by 141.7% in the second quarter. Orbis Allan Gray Ltd now owns 2,444,847 shares of the company’s stock valued at $103,075,000 after buying an additional 1,433,472 shares in the last quarter. 73.44% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About AutoNation

AutoNation, Inc (AutoNation) is an automotive retailer in the United States. The Company offers a range of automotive products and services, including new vehicles, used vehicles, parts and service, which includes automotive repair and maintenance services, as well as wholesale parts and collision businesses, and automotive finance and insurance products, including vehicle service and other protection products, as well as the arranging of financing for vehicle purchases through third-party finance sources.

Analyst Recommendations for AutoNation (NYSE:AN)

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