Shares of KAR Auction Services, Inc (NYSE:KAR) have been given a consensus recommendation of “Buy” by the six brokerages that are covering the firm, Marketbeat Ratings reports. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold recommendation and three have assigned a buy recommendation to the company. The average 12-month price objective among brokers that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $53.33.

A number of research firms recently issued reports on KAR. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $50.00 price target on shares of KAR Auction Services in a research note on Tuesday, September 12th. Stephens downgraded shares of KAR Auction Services from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and decreased their price target for the company from $51.00 to $48.00 in a research note on Thursday, September 7th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of KAR Auction Services from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, August 11th. BidaskClub raised shares of KAR Auction Services from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Finally, Gabelli began coverage on shares of KAR Auction Services in a research note on Tuesday, July 4th. They set a “buy” rating and a $62.00 price target on the stock.

KAR Auction Services (NYSE KAR) opened at 47.84 on Friday. The company has a market cap of $6.57 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 29.35 and a beta of 1.07. The company’s 50 day moving average is $45.82 and its 200 day moving average is $43.51. KAR Auction Services has a 12-month low of $38.16 and a 12-month high of $48.65.

KAR Auction Services (NYSE:KAR) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, August 8th. The specialty retailer reported $0.65 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.58 by $0.07. The firm had revenue of $858.00 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $850.67 million. KAR Auction Services had a net margin of 6.83% and a return on equity of 21.46%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 8.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.55 earnings per share. Analysts forecast that KAR Auction Services will post $2.25 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, October 3rd. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, September 20th were paid a $0.32 dividend. This represents a $1.28 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.68%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, September 19th. KAR Auction Services’s dividend payout ratio is currently 78.53%.

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In other news, CEO John W. Kett sold 10,011 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $42.01, for a total value of $420,562.11. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 65,982 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,771,903.82. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, COO Donald S. Gottwald sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $43.68, for a total transaction of $436,800.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 20,031 shares of company stock worth $858,249. Insiders own 1.30% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP purchased a new stake in shares of KAR Auction Services in the second quarter valued at $7,974,000. Archford Capital Strategies LLC raised its stake in shares of KAR Auction Services by 832.0% in the second quarter. Archford Capital Strategies LLC now owns 932 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $103,000 after acquiring an additional 832 shares during the period. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd purchased a new stake in shares of KAR Auction Services in the second quarter valued at $1,487,000. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio raised its stake in shares of KAR Auction Services by 5.3% in the second quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 75,164 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $3,155,000 after acquiring an additional 3,783 shares during the period. Finally, Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC raised its stake in shares of KAR Auction Services by 43.4% in the second quarter. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC now owns 35,610 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $1,495,000 after acquiring an additional 10,781 shares during the period. 99.27% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About KAR Auction Services

KAR Auction Services, Inc is a provider of whole car auction services in North America, and salvage auction services in North America and the United Kingdom. The Company operates through three segments: ADESA, Inc (ADESA Auctions or ADESA), Insurance Auto Auctions, Inc (IAA) and Automotive Finance Corporation (AFC).

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