Sonic Automotive, Inc. (NYSE:SAH) saw strong trading volume on Monday . 920,163 shares were traded during trading, an increase of 243% from the previous session’s volume of 268,279 shares.The stock last traded at $21.65 and had previously closed at $21.40.

Several equities research analysts have weighed in on the stock. ValuEngine raised shares of Sonic Automotive from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, December 1st. Bank of America cut shares of Sonic Automotive from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 19th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Sonic Automotive from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 17th. TheStreet raised shares of Sonic Automotive from a “c+” rating to a “b” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 18th. Finally, KeyCorp reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Sonic Automotive in a research report on Friday, September 1st. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. Sonic Automotive presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $23.67.

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 has a market cap of $935.17, a PE ratio of 12.81, a P/E/G ratio of 3.96 and a beta of 1.56.

Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, October 24th. The company reported $0.40 EPS for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.40. Sonic Automotive had a net margin of 0.70% and a return on equity of 10.47%. The firm had revenue of $2.51 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.54 billion. During the same period last year, the company posted $0.47 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 2.0% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts anticipate that Sonic Automotive, Inc. will post 1.82 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, January 12th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 15th will be given a $0.05 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 14th. This represents a $0.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.94%. Sonic Automotive’s dividend payout ratio is 13.07%.

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

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of SAH. Northern Trust Corp lifted its position in Sonic Automotive by 23.6% during the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 1,201,056 shares of the company’s stock valued at $23,360,000 after acquiring an additional 228,935 shares during the period. Towle & Co. lifted its position in Sonic Automotive by 18.8% during the 3rd quarter. Towle & Co. now owns 1,122,759 shares of the company’s stock valued at $22,904,000 after acquiring an additional 177,535 shares during the period. Prudential Financial Inc. lifted its position in Sonic Automotive by 49.4% during the 2nd quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 422,930 shares of the company’s stock valued at $8,226,000 after acquiring an additional 139,778 shares during the period. Elliott Management Corp lifted its position in Sonic Automotive by 17.6% during the 2nd quarter. Elliott Management Corp now owns 892,275 shares of the company’s stock valued at $17,355,000 after acquiring an additional 133,700 shares during the period. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its position in Sonic Automotive by 3.5% during the 1st quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 2,344,255 shares of the company’s stock valued at $47,002,000 after acquiring an additional 78,687 shares during the period. 64.43% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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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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