Shares of Sonic Automotive, Inc. (NYSE:SAH) have been assigned a consensus rating of “Hold” from the seven research firms that are presently covering the stock, Marketbeat Ratings reports. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell recommendation, three have assigned a hold recommendation and two have assigned a buy recommendation to the company. The average 1 year price target among brokerages that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $23.67.

A number of research analysts have issued reports on SAH shares. TheStreet downgraded shares of Sonic Automotive from a “b” rating to a “c+” rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 30th. Jefferies Group LLC restated a “hold” rating and set a $22.00 target price on shares of Sonic Automotive in a research report on Wednesday, May 3rd. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Sonic Automotive from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, June 2nd. Finally, Morgan Stanley cut their target price on shares of Sonic Automotive from $25.00 to $23.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, June 9th.

In related news, insider O Bruton Smith purchased 19,273 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 3rd. The stock was bought at an average cost of $18.55 per share, with a total value of $357,514.15. Following the purchase, the insider now directly owns 676,609 shares in the company, valued at approximately $12,551,096.95. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 30.29% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Victory Capital Management Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Sonic Automotive by 20.4% in the first quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 4,976 shares of the company’s stock worth $100,000 after buying an additional 844 shares during the period. Mason Street Advisors LLC boosted its stake in shares of Sonic Automotive by 7.1% in the first quarter. Mason Street Advisors LLC now owns 6,146 shares of the company’s stock worth $123,000 after buying an additional 405 shares during the period. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio boosted its stake in shares of Sonic Automotive by 4.8% in the first quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 8,891 shares of the company’s stock worth $178,000 after buying an additional 410 shares during the period. Karp Capital Management Corp bought a new stake in shares of Sonic Automotive during the first quarter worth approximately $211,000. Finally, Louisiana State Employees Retirement System boosted its stake in shares of Sonic Automotive by 0.9% in the first quarter. Louisiana State Employees Retirement System now owns 10,700 shares of the company’s stock worth $215,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the period. 63.83% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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Shares of Sonic Automotive (SAH) traded up 3.52% during trading on Friday, hitting $19.10. 388,718 shares of the stock traded hands. Sonic Automotive has a 1-year low of $16.53 and a 1-year high of $27.45. The company has a 50 day moving average of $18.71 and a 200-day moving average of $20.92. The company has a market cap of $859.33 million, a PE ratio of 11.09 and a beta of 1.54.

Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, April 26th. The company reported $0.23 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.23. Sonic Automotive had a net margin of 0.80% and a return on equity of 12.03%. The company had revenue of $2.29 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.29 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.39 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 2.4% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Sonic Automotive will post $2.00 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, July 14th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, June 15th will be paid a $0.05 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, June 13th. This represents a $0.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.05%. Sonic Automotive’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 11.63%.

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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