Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) Upgraded to “Equal” at Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley upgraded shares of Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) from an underweight rating to an equal rating in a research report report published on Thursday morning, Briefing.com Automated Import reports. The firm currently has $31.00 target price on the stock, up from their previous target price of $22.00.

Several other research analysts also recently issued reports on the stock. Bank of America downgraded shares of Sonic Automotive from a neutral rating to an underperform rating in a research note on Friday, September 13th. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Sonic Automotive from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Thursday, October 31st. Stephens set a $40.00 price objective on shares of Sonic Automotive and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Friday, October 25th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded shares of Sonic Automotive from an underweight rating to a neutral rating and increased their price objective for the company from $23.00 to $30.00 in a research report on Tuesday, September 10th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $28.00.

Shares of NYSE SAH traded down $0.24 during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $34.20. The stock had a trading volume of 202,434 shares, compared to its average volume of 394,580. The business’s 50 day moving average is $31.00 and its 200-day moving average is $25.81. The company has a market cap of $1.41 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.32, a PEG ratio of 4.43 and a beta of 1.90. Sonic Automotive has a 52 week low of $12.78 and a 52 week high of $35.41. The company has a quick ratio of 0.25, a current ratio of 1.04 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.31.

Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, October 24th. The company reported $0.66 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.57 by $0.09. The firm had revenue of $2.70 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.60 billion. Sonic Automotive had a net margin of 1.16% and a return on equity of 12.20%. The business’s revenue was up 9.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.43 earnings per share. As a group, analysts expect that Sonic Automotive will post 2.51 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, January 15th. Investors of record on Friday, December 13th will be given a dividend of $0.10 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 12th. This represents a $0.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.17%. Sonic Automotive’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 22.60%.

In related news, CEO Jeff Dyke sold 6,924 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, October 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $15.83, for a total transaction of $109,606.92. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 56,924 shares of company stock worth $1,734,607. 31.60% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of SAH. C M Bidwell & Associates Ltd. bought a new position in Sonic Automotive during the second quarter valued at approximately $38,000. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC bought a new position in Sonic Automotive in the third quarter worth approximately $81,000. Bank of Montreal Can raised its position in Sonic Automotive by 297.0% in the second quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 3,871 shares of the company’s stock worth $89,000 after acquiring an additional 2,896 shares during the period. Capital Investment Advisory Services LLC raised its position in Sonic Automotive by 32.2% in the second quarter. Capital Investment Advisory Services LLC now owns 4,051 shares of the company’s stock worth $96,000 after acquiring an additional 986 shares during the period. Finally, Russell Investments Group Ltd. bought a new position in Sonic Automotive in the third quarter worth approximately $169,000. Institutional investors own 60.31% of the company’s stock.

Sonic Automotive Company Profile

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