KAR Auction Services Inc. (NYSE:KAR) was the target of a significant increase in short interest in August. As of August 31st, there was short interest totalling 1,609,241 shares, an increase of 41.9% from the August 15th total of 1,133,762 shares. Approximately 1.2% of the company’s stock are short sold. Based on an average daily volume of 870,605 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 1.8 days.

Several analysts recently issued reports on the stock. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of KAR Auction Services from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $46.00 price target on the stock in a report on Wednesday, July 6th. Northcoast Research cut shares of KAR Auction Services from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Thursday, July 14th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of KAR Auction Services in a report on Wednesday, August 3rd. Jefferies Group upped their price target on shares of KAR Auction Services from $47.00 to $50.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, August 4th. Finally, Macquarie reaffirmed an “outperform” rating on shares of KAR Auction Services in a report on Monday, August 29th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $43.71.

Shares of KAR Auction Services (NYSE:KAR) opened at 41.77 on Monday. KAR Auction Services has a 1-year low of $31.54 and a 1-year high of $43.91. The company has a market cap of $5.76 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.14 and a beta of 1.48. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $41.78 and its 200 day moving average is $39.90.

KAR Auction Services (NYSE:KAR) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 2nd. The company reported $0.55 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.56 by $0.01. KAR Auction Services had a net margin of 7.79% and a return on equity of 19.03%. The company had revenue of $771.80 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $757.67 million. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.51 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 17.2% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts expect that KAR Auction Services will post $2.13 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 4th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, September 21st will be issued a dividend of $0.29 per share. The ex-dividend date is Monday, September 19th. This represents a $1.16 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.78%. KAR Auction Services’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 72.50%.

In other news, EVP Benjamin Skuy sold 10,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, September 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $42.74, for a total transaction of $427,400.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 87,420 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,736,330.80. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Mark E. Hill bought 12,000 shares of KAR Auction Services stock in a transaction dated Friday, September 9th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $41.78 per share, for a total transaction of $501,360.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 25,500 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,065,390. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders own 1.30% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in KAR. FMR LLC increased its position in shares of KAR Auction Services by 40.3% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 10,444,899 shares of the company’s stock valued at $435,970,000 after buying an additional 2,998,636 shares during the period. Point72 Asset Management L.P. increased its position in shares of KAR Auction Services by 127.9% in the second quarter. Point72 Asset Management L.P. now owns 3,266,800 shares of the company’s stock valued at $136,356,000 after buying an additional 1,833,200 shares during the period. KAMES CAPITAL plc bought a new position in shares of KAR Auction Services during the second quarter valued at approximately $34,885,000. EverPoint Asset Management LLC increased its position in shares of KAR Auction Services by 257.5% in the second quarter. EverPoint Asset Management LLC now owns 901,401 shares of the company’s stock valued at $37,624,000 after buying an additional 649,257 shares during the period. Finally, Emerald Acquisition Ltd. bought a new position in shares of KAR Auction Services during the second quarter valued at approximately $18,456,000.

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), Insurance Auto Auctions, Inc (IAA) and Automotive Finance Corporation (AFC).

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