Principal Financial Group Inc. lessened its holdings in Sonic Co. (NASDAQ:SONC) by 2.1% during the first quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 294,781 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock after selling 6,417 shares during the period. Principal Financial Group Inc.’s holdings in Sonic were worth $7,437,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Other hedge funds have also modified their holdings of the company. SG Americas Securities LLC raised its position in shares of Sonic by 70.9% in the first quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC now owns 6,285 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $159,000 after buying an additional 2,608 shares in the last quarter. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB purchased a new stake in shares of Sonic in the first quarter worth $222,000. Hsbc Holdings PLC purchased a new stake in shares of Sonic in the first quarter worth $348,000. Royal Bank of Canada raised its position in shares of Sonic by 22.9% in the first quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 14,354 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $362,000 after buying an additional 2,673 shares in the last quarter. Finally, MetLife Investment Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Sonic in the fourth quarter worth $465,000.

In other news, insider Christina D. Vaughan sold 2,124 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $36.00, for a total transaction of $76,464.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 2,124 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $76,464. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, VP E Edward Saroch sold 21,896 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $36.46, for a total value of $798,328.16. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 8.28% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of equities research analysts recently issued reports on SONC shares. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Sonic from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Saturday, June 30th. BidaskClub cut Sonic from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 8th. Morgan Stanley increased their target price on Sonic from $26.00 to $31.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Thursday, June 28th. Guggenheim reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $38.00 target price on shares of Sonic in a research note on Sunday, July 1st. Finally, ValuEngine cut Sonic from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 9th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $32.18.

SONC opened at $34.80 on Friday. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.23 billion, a P/E ratio of 27.84, a PEG ratio of 1.58 and a beta of 1.48. The company has a current ratio of 1.78, a quick ratio of 1.78 and a debt-to-equity ratio of -2.62. Sonic Co. has a 52 week low of $22.11 and a 52 week high of $37.44.

Sonic (NASDAQ:SONC) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, June 26th. The restaurant operator reported $0.52 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.49 by $0.03. The business had revenue of $118.30 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $119.31 million. Sonic had a negative return on equity of 23.60% and a net margin of 16.87%. The firm’s revenue was down 4.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.43 earnings per share. sell-side analysts anticipate that Sonic Co. will post 1.48 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Sonic declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a share buyback plan on Thursday, June 7th that authorizes the company to buyback $500.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the restaurant operator to repurchase up to 42.2% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are usually a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, August 17th. Investors of record on Wednesday, August 8th were paid a $0.16 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, August 7th. This represents a $0.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.84%. Sonic’s dividend payout ratio is presently 51.20%.

Sonic Company Profile

Sonic Corp. operates and franchises a chain of quick-service drive-in restaurants in the United States. As of August 31, 2017, the company operated 3,593 Sonic Drive-Ins in 45 states, of which 228 were owned and operated by the company and 3,365 were owned and operated by franchisees. The company also owns and leases 135 properties; and sublease 53 properties to franchisees and other parties.

Further Reading: Leveraged Buyout (LBO) Explained

Want to see what other hedge funds are holding SONC? Visit HoldingsChannel.com to get the latest 13F filings and insider trades for Sonic Co. (NASDAQ:SONC).

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Sonic (NASDAQ:SONC)

Receive News & Ratings for Sonic Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Sonic and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.