Sonic Automotive, Inc. (NYSE:SAH) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Sonic Automotive registered adjusted earnings per share of 40 cents in third-quarter 2017, in-line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.  Total revenues in the quarter missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The company is expanding its network of stores to boost sales. Also, the company actively pursues capital deployment strategies to boost shareholder value. The company plans to offset dilution caused by equity compensation awards through regular share repurchase programs. It is expected that over the long term, the company has the ability to enhance service capacity and raise revenues. However, weakness in the Houston market, where Sonic Automotive has considerable exposure, is also likely to adversely impact its sales and profit. In the last six months, the company's shares have underperformed in the industry it belongs to.”

SAH has been the subject of several other research reports. KeyCorp reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Sonic Automotive in a research note on Friday, September 1st. TheStreet raised Sonic Automotive from a “c+” rating to a “b” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. Bank of America Corporation lowered Sonic Automotive from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 19th. BidaskClub lowered Sonic Automotive from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 10th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $22.00 target price on shares of Sonic Automotive in a research note on Wednesday, July 19th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $21.75.

Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, October 24th. The company reported $0.40 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.40. The business had revenue of $2.51 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.54 billion. Sonic Automotive had a return on equity of 10.47% and a net margin of 0.70%. Sonic Automotive’s revenue for the quarter was down 2.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.47 earnings per share.

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In other Sonic Automotive news, EVP Jeff Dyke sold 8,551 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, October 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $20.10, for a total value of $171,875.10. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 1,262,056 shares in the company, valued at $25,367,325.60. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, CFO Heath Byrd sold 11,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, October 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $20.43, for a total value of $224,730.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 143,306 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,927,741.58. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 30.29% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in SAH. Nationwide Fund Advisors lifted its position in Sonic Automotive by 239.4% in the fourth quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 87,240 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,986,000 after purchasing an additional 61,536 shares during the last quarter. TFS Capital LLC raised its holdings in shares of Sonic Automotive by 235.3% during the fourth quarter. TFS Capital LLC now owns 70,678 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,609,000 after acquiring an additional 49,599 shares in the last quarter. California State Teachers Retirement System raised its holdings in shares of Sonic Automotive by 1.8% during the fourth quarter. California State Teachers Retirement System now owns 61,011 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,389,000 after acquiring an additional 1,100 shares in the last quarter. Rhumbline Advisers raised its holdings in shares of Sonic Automotive by 3.4% during the fourth quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 70,526 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,605,000 after acquiring an additional 2,325 shares in the last quarter. Finally, LSV Asset Management bought a new position in shares of Sonic Automotive during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $20,677,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 63.72% of the company’s stock.

Sonic Automotive Company Profile

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

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Analyst Recommendations for Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH)

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