Sonic Automotive Inc. (NYSE:SAH)‘s stock had its “hold” rating reaffirmed by equities research analysts at Jefferies Group in a research note issued on Wednesday.

Separately, Zacks Investment Research lowered Sonic Automotive from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 13th.

Shares of Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) opened at 18.95 on Wednesday. Sonic Automotive has a one year low of $15.68 and a one year high of $25.77. The stock has a market capitalization of $861.22 million, a P/E ratio of 9.64 and a beta of 1.81. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $18.13 and its 200 day moving average price is $17.62.

Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $0.50 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.50. The company had revenue of $2.38 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.48 billion. Sonic Automotive had a return on equity of 14.65% and a net margin of 0.99%. Sonic Automotive’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.46 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts expect that Sonic Automotive will post $2.10 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 14th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, September 15th were given a $0.05 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $0.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.06%. Sonic Automotive’s dividend payout ratio is currently 10.26%.

In related news, insider O Bruton Smith purchased 50,000 shares of Sonic Automotive stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 24th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $16.83 per share, for a total transaction of $841,500.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 525,242 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $8,839,822.86. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. 29.32% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of SAH. BlackRock Fund Advisors raised its position in Sonic Automotive by 1.0% in the second quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 1,852,622 shares of the company’s stock valued at $31,698,000 after buying an additional 18,887 shares in the last quarter. RidgeWorth Capital Management LLC raised its position in Sonic Automotive by 7.0% in the second quarter. RidgeWorth Capital Management LLC now owns 1,625,614 shares of the company’s stock valued at $28,681,000 after buying an additional 105,797 shares in the last quarter. LSV Asset Management raised its position in Sonic Automotive by 14.8% in the second quarter. LSV Asset Management now owns 1,384,131 shares of the company’s stock valued at $23,682,000 after buying an additional 178,025 shares in the last quarter. Lombardia Capital Partners LLC raised its position in Sonic Automotive by 23.4% in the second quarter. Lombardia Capital Partners LLC now owns 1,231,582 shares of the company’s stock valued at $21,072,000 after buying an additional 233,291 shares in the last quarter. Finally, FMR LLC raised its position in Sonic Automotive by 11.3% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 1,163,300 shares of the company’s stock valued at $19,904,000 after buying an additional 118,500 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 65.87% of the company’s stock.

About Sonic Automotive

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

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