Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Penske Automotive Group (NYSE:PAG) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Penske Automotive is poised to benefit from expanding dealership network and continued acquisitions. It also enjoys a favorable automotive retail environment in the United States and the United Kingdom markets. The company also focuses on frequent capital deployments through regular dividend payments. However, high merchandise inventory levels and intensifying competition raise concerns for the company. Plus, changing foreign exchange rates and U.S. market conditions are other headwinds that Penske Automotive struggles with. Also in the last six months, the company’s shares have underperformed the industry it belongs to.”

Several other research firms have also commented on PAG. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Penske Automotive Group from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Monday, October 2nd. Gabelli raised their price target on shares of Penske Automotive Group from $68.00 to $69.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, October 26th. Berenberg Bank started coverage on shares of Penske Automotive Group in a research report on Wednesday, October 4th. They set a hold rating and a $52.00 price target on the stock. Northcoast Research started coverage on shares of Penske Automotive Group in a research report on Thursday, September 28th. They set a buy rating and a $56.00 price target on the stock. Finally, KeyCorp restated a hold rating on shares of Penske Automotive Group in a research report on Wednesday, October 4th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company. Penske Automotive Group currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $55.71.

Penske Automotive Group (NYSE:PAG) traded up $0.31 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $48.52. 434,400 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 502,867. The firm has a market capitalization of $4,170.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.36, a PEG ratio of 1.62 and a beta of 1.46. The company has a current ratio of 1.04, a quick ratio of 0.23 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.03. Penske Automotive Group has a 52 week low of $38.33 and a 52 week high of $55.26.

Penske Automotive Group (NYSE:PAG) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The company reported $1.10 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.08 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $5.52 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.33 billion. Penske Automotive Group had a net margin of 1.75% and a return on equity of 18.68%. The firm’s revenue was up 7.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $1.03 earnings per share. research analysts predict that Penske Automotive Group will post 4.3 EPS for the current year.

Penske Automotive Group declared that its board has initiated a stock buyback plan on Wednesday, October 25th that authorizes the company to buyback $200.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are usually an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, major shareholder Corp Penske acquired 1,103,996 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, October 20th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $45.29 per share, with a total value of $49,999,978.84. Following the completion of the acquisition, the insider now directly owns 11,564,576 shares in the company, valued at approximately $523,759,647.04. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Shane M. Spradlin sold 3,188 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, November 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.41, for a total transaction of $151,143.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 40.70% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of PAG. Point72 Asset Management L.P. purchased a new position in Penske Automotive Group during the third quarter valued at $22,206,000. Fiduciary Management Inc. WI lifted its stake in shares of Penske Automotive Group by 26.9% in the third quarter. Fiduciary Management Inc. WI now owns 1,849,553 shares of the company’s stock worth $87,983,000 after buying an additional 391,808 shares in the last quarter. Deprince Race & Zollo Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Penske Automotive Group in the third quarter worth about $17,842,000. Koch Industries Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Penske Automotive Group in the second quarter worth about $315,000. Finally, SG Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of Penske Automotive Group in the third quarter worth about $15,129,000. 41.40% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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Penske Automotive Group Company Profile

Penske Automotive Group, Inc is an international transportation services company. The Company operates automotive and commercial truck dealerships principally in the United States, Canada and Western Europe, and distributes commercial vehicles, diesel engines, gas engines, power systems, and related parts and services principally in Australia and New Zealand.

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