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Bank of America Downgrades Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH) to Underperform

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Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH – Get Rating) was downgraded by Bank of America from a "buy" rating to an "underperform" rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday, MarketBeat Ratings reports.

Several other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on the stock. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reduced their price objective on shares of Sonic Automotive from $51.00 to $47.00 in a research report on Friday, July 15th. StockNews.com lowered shares of Sonic Automotive from a "buy" rating to a "hold" rating in a report on Friday, July 15th. Benchmark cut their target price on shares of Sonic Automotive to $71.00 in a report on Tuesday, August 9th. Finally, Morgan Stanley raised their target price on shares of Sonic Automotive from $33.00 to $35.00 and gave the company an "underweight" rating in a report on Thursday, September 1st. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company's stock. According to MarketBeat, Sonic Automotive presently has a consensus rating of "Hold" and a consensus target price of $51.00.

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Sonic Automotive Price Performance

NYSE SAH opened at $47.40 on Friday. Sonic Automotive has a 12 month low of $34.17 and a 12 month high of $59.19. The stock has a market cap of $1.86 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 5.34 and a beta of 1.93. The company's 50 day moving average is $45.31 and its two-hundred day moving average is $44.84. The company has a current ratio of 1.10, a quick ratio of 0.44 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.39.

Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH – Get Rating) last released its earnings results on Thursday, July 28th. The company reported $2.45 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts' consensus estimates of $2.55 by ($0.10). Sonic Automotive had a return on equity of 36.00% and a net margin of 2.76%. The firm had revenue of $3.65 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.90 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $2.63 EPS. Sonic Automotive's revenue was up 8.9% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, research analysts anticipate that Sonic Automotive will post 9.97 earnings per share for the current year.

Insider Activity

In other news, CEO David Bruton Smith sold 54,670 shares of the company's stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $55.60, for a total transaction of $3,039,652.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 467,856 shares of the company's stock, valued at $26,012,793.60. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. In related news, President Jeff Dyke sold 28,196 shares of the business's stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.67, for a total value of $1,203,123.32. Following the completion of the sale, the president now owns 190,168 shares in the company, valued at $8,114,468.56. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CEO David Bruton Smith sold 54,670 shares of the business's stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $55.60, for a total value of $3,039,652.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 467,856 shares of the company's stock, valued at approximately $26,012,793.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 176,580 shares of company stock valued at $8,110,352. 36.07% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Institutional Trading of Sonic Automotive

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of SAH. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. lifted its holdings in Sonic Automotive by 43.5% during the fourth quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 9,950 shares of the company's stock worth $492,000 after buying an additional 3,016 shares during the period. ProShare Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Sonic Automotive during the 4th quarter valued at $266,000. Raymond James & Associates lifted its holdings in shares of Sonic Automotive by 4.6% during the 4th quarter. Raymond James & Associates now owns 24,421 shares of the company's stock valued at $1,208,000 after purchasing an additional 1,070 shares during the last quarter. Bank of America Corp DE lifted its holdings in shares of Sonic Automotive by 26.9% during the 4th quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 113,998 shares of the company's stock valued at $5,637,000 after purchasing an additional 24,172 shares during the last quarter. Finally, BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA increased its position in shares of Sonic Automotive by 3.2% in the 4th quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 37,724 shares of the company's stock valued at $1,865,000 after acquiring an additional 1,172 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 57.10% of the company's stock.

About Sonic Automotive

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Sonic Automotive, Inc operates as an automotive retailer in the United States. It operates in two segments, Franchised Dealerships and EchoPark. The Franchised Dealerships segment is involved in the sale of new and used cars and light trucks, and replacement parts; provision of vehicle maintenance, manufacturer warranty repair, and paint and collision repair services; and arrangement of extended warranties, service contracts, financing, insurance, and other aftermarket products for its guests.

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