KAR Auction Services, Inc (NYSE:KAR) was the target of a large increase in short interest during the month of August. As of August 31st, there was short interest totalling 1,743,754 shares, an increase of 114.2% from the August 15th total of 814,107 shares. Currently, 1.3% of the company’s shares are short sold. Based on an average daily volume of 989,381 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 1.8 days.

KAR has been the topic of several recent analyst reports. Gabelli initiated coverage on KAR Auction Services in a research note on Tuesday, July 4th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $62.00 price target on the stock. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $50.00 price target on shares of KAR Auction Services in a research note on Tuesday, September 12th. Stephens lowered 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 KAR Auction Services from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, August 11th. Finally, BidaskClub raised KAR Auction Services from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $52.75.

KAR Auction Services (KAR) opened at 45.66 on Friday. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $44.16 and its 200 day moving average price is $43.28. KAR Auction Services has a 1-year low of $38.16 and a 1-year high of $47.03. The firm has a market cap of $6.27 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 28.01 and a beta of 1.10.

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

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 3rd. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, September 20th will be given a dividend of $0.32 per share. This represents a $1.28 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.79%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, September 19th. KAR Auction Services’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 78.53%.

In other news, CEO John W. Kett sold 10,008 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, July 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.06, for a total value of $420,936.48. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 58,941 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,479,058.46. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, CEO John W. Kett sold 10,011 shares of the company’s 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 completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 65,982 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,771,903.82. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 30,039 shares of company stock worth $1,279,186. Corporate insiders own 1.30% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of KAR. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC grew its position in KAR Auction Services by 50.7% during the first quarter. Nisa Investment Advisors LLC now owns 8,290 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $362,000 after acquiring an additional 2,790 shares during the period. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board grew its position in KAR Auction Services by 115.0% during the first quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 32,900 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $1,437,000 after acquiring an additional 17,600 shares during the period. Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its position in KAR Auction Services by 81.6% during the first quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 1,426,858 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $62,311,000 after acquiring an additional 641,276 shares during the period. Comerica Bank grew its position in KAR Auction Services by 1.4% during the first quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 6,094 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $269,000 after acquiring an additional 87 shares during the period. Finally, Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank grew its position in KAR Auction Services by 24.6% during the first quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 5,325 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $233,000 after acquiring an additional 1,050 shares during the period. 99.27% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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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