Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of KAR Auction Services, Inc (NYSE:KAR) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $53.00 price objective on the specialty retailer’s stock.

According to Zacks, “KAR Auction Services, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates as a used vehicle and salvage auto auction company in North America. The company operates in three segments: ADESA, IAAI, and AFC. The ADESA segment provides whole car auctions and related services to commercial fleet operators, financial institutions, rental car companies, used vehicle dealers, vehicle manufacturers and their captive finance companies, and franchised and independent used vehicle dealers. This segment also provides value-added ancillary services, such as inspections, storage, transportation, reconditioning and titling, and other administrative services. The IAAI segment offers salvage vehicle auctions and related services. The AFC segment offers short-term and inventory-secured financing, known as floorplan financing, to independent used vehicle dealers. KAR Auction Services, Inc. is headquartered in Carmel, Indiana. “

Other equities analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. BidaskClub raised shares of KAR Auction Services from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Monday, July 31st. Gabelli initiated coverage on shares of KAR Auction Services in a report on Tuesday, July 4th. They issued a buy rating and a $62.00 price target on the stock. J P Morgan Chase & Co increased their price target on shares of KAR Auction Services from $52.00 to $55.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a report on Monday. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a buy rating and issued a $50.00 price target on shares of KAR Auction Services in a report on Tuesday, September 12th. Finally, Stephens cut shares of KAR Auction Services from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating and decreased their price objective for the stock from $51.00 to $48.00 in a research report on Thursday, September 7th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $51.80.

KAR Auction Services (NYSE:KAR) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, October 31st. The specialty retailer reported $0.57 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.51 by $0.06. KAR Auction Services had a net margin of 6.94% and a return on equity of 22.26%. The firm had revenue of $843.00 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $846.42 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.50 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 6.8% compared to the same quarter last year.

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The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, January 5th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, December 20th will be given a dividend of $0.35 per share. This is a boost from KAR Auction Services’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.32. This represents a $1.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.96%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, December 19th. KAR Auction Services’s payout ratio is presently 75.29%.

In related news, COO Donald S. Gottwald sold 10,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $43.68, for a total value of $436,800.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. 1.30% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Archford Capital Strategies LLC increased its position in shares of KAR Auction Services by 832.0% during the 2nd quarter. Archford Capital Strategies LLC now owns 932 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $103,000 after purchasing an additional 832 shares during the last quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC bought a new position in KAR Auction Services in the 2nd quarter valued at $118,000. CENTRAL TRUST Co bought a new position in KAR Auction Services in the 2nd quarter valued at $150,000. SG Americas Securities LLC bought a new position in KAR Auction Services in the 1st quarter valued at $162,000. Finally, PNC Financial Services Group Inc. grew its position in KAR Auction Services by 105.6% in the 2nd quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 4,063 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $171,000 after acquiring an additional 2,087 shares during the last quarter. 99.52% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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).

Analyst Recommendations for KAR Auction Services (NYSE:KAR)

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