Shares of AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE:AN) have been given an average rating of “Hold” by the fifteen research firms that are currently covering the firm, Marketbeat Ratings reports. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. The average 1 year target price among analysts that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $44.75.

A number of research firms recently commented on AN. ValuEngine upgraded AutoNation from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday. Berenberg Bank began coverage on AutoNation in a research report on Wednesday, October 4th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $55.00 target price on the stock. Northcoast Research downgraded AutoNation from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 4th. Susquehanna Bancshares Inc downgraded AutoNation to a “neutral” rating and boosted their target price for the stock from $36.00 to $38.00 in a research report on Monday, October 2nd. Finally, UBS Group AG downgraded AutoNation from a “positive” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research report on Thursday, September 28th.

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

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of AN. BlackRock Inc. raised its holdings in shares of AutoNation by 2,957.8% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 4,175,382 shares of the company’s stock worth $176,578,000 after buying an additional 4,038,834 shares during the period. Artisan Partners Limited Partnership raised its holdings in shares of AutoNation by 76.5% in the second quarter. Artisan Partners Limited Partnership now owns 5,181,954 shares of the company’s stock worth $218,471,000 after buying an additional 2,245,935 shares during the period. Victory Capital Management Inc. raised its holdings in shares of AutoNation by 175,288.8% in the second quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 2,090,635 shares of the company’s stock worth $88,142,000 after buying an additional 2,089,443 shares during the period. Arlington Value Capital LLC raised its holdings in shares of AutoNation by 284.0% in the second quarter. Arlington Value Capital LLC now owns 2,096,311 shares of the company’s stock worth $88,380,000 after buying an additional 1,550,426 shares during the period. Finally, Orbis Allan Gray Ltd raised its holdings in shares of AutoNation by 141.7% in the second quarter. Orbis Allan Gray Ltd now owns 2,444,847 shares of the company’s stock worth $103,075,000 after buying an additional 1,433,472 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.39% of the company’s stock.

AutoNation (AN) traded up 1.50% during trading on Thursday, hitting $47.38. 365,891 shares of the company traded hands. The firm has a market capitalization of $4.76 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.80 and a beta of 1.21. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $46.29 and a 200-day moving average price of $42.58. AutoNation has a 12-month low of $38.20 and a 12-month high of $53.74.

AutoNation (NYSE:AN) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, August 2nd. The company reported $0.86 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.98 by ($0.12). The firm had revenue of $5.28 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.56 billion. AutoNation had a return on equity of 16.71% and a net margin of 1.90%. AutoNation’s quarterly revenue was down 3.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.08 earnings per share. Equities analysts expect that AutoNation will post $3.55 EPS for the current fiscal year.

AutoNation announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share repurchase plan on Tuesday, August 29th that authorizes the company to buyback $250.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to purchase up to 6% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are usually an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

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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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