Equities research analysts forecast that Sonic Automotive Inc (NYSE:SAH) will report sales of $2.61 billion for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Two analysts have made estimates for Sonic Automotive’s earnings, with the lowest sales estimate coming in at $2.59 billion and the highest estimate coming in at $2.64 billion. Sonic Automotive reported sales of $2.56 billion in the same quarter last year, which would suggest a positive year-over-year growth rate of 2%. The firm is scheduled to announce its next earnings results on Tuesday, February 20th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Sonic Automotive will report full-year sales of $2.61 billion for the current fiscal year, with estimates ranging from $9.78 billion to $9.84 billion. For the next financial year, analysts anticipate that the company will report sales of $9.85 billion per share, with estimates ranging from $9.76 billion to $10.00 billion. Zacks’ sales averages are an average based on a survey of sell-side analysts that that provide coverage for Sonic Automotive.

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

Several equities research analysts recently weighed in on SAH shares. TheStreet raised shares of Sonic Automotive from a “c+” rating to a “b” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 18th. ValuEngine raised shares of Sonic Automotive from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, December 1st. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Sonic Automotive from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, November 2nd. Finally, Bank of America raised shares of Sonic Automotive from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $23.00 price target for the company in a research report on Monday. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Sonic Automotive has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $22.67.

In related news, CFO Heath Byrd sold 11,000 shares of the firm’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 sale, the chief financial officer now owns 143,306 shares in the company, valued at $2,927,741.58. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP Jeff Dyke sold 8,551 shares of the firm’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 transaction 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 approximately $25,367,325.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 30.29% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. GSA Capital Partners LLP purchased a new stake in Sonic Automotive in the third quarter worth approximately $1,111,000. First Heartland Consultants Inc. boosted its holdings in Sonic Automotive by 22.8% in the third quarter. First Heartland Consultants Inc. now owns 50,600 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,032,000 after purchasing an additional 9,400 shares during the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System boosted its holdings in Sonic Automotive by 3.1% in the third quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 142,102 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,899,000 after purchasing an additional 4,249 shares during the last quarter. Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC purchased a new stake in Sonic Automotive in the third quarter worth approximately $315,000. Finally, Jane Street Group LLC purchased a new stake in Sonic Automotive in the third quarter worth approximately $260,000. Institutional investors own 64.40% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Sonic Automotive (SAH) traded up $1.20 during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $20.95. 554,700 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 505,480. Sonic Automotive has a fifty-two week low of $15.95 and a fifty-two week high of $27.45. The company has a market capitalization of $904.95, a P/E ratio of 13.43, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.35 and a beta of 1.57. The company has a quick ratio of 0.26, a current ratio of 1.06 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.41.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, January 12th. Investors of record on Friday, December 15th will be given a dividend of $0.05 per share. This represents a $0.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.95%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 14th. Sonic Automotive’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 12.82%.

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About Sonic Automotive

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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