Berenberg Bank Begins Coverage on AutoNation, Inc. (AN)

Berenberg Bank assumed coverage on shares of AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE:AN) in a research note released on Wednesday, Marketbeat.com reports. The brokerage issued a buy rating and a $55.00 price target on the stock.

Several other research analysts have also issued reports on the company. BidaskClub upgraded AutoNation from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a report on Thursday, June 29th. KeyCorp reiterated a hold rating on shares of AutoNation in a report on Friday, September 1st. Northcoast Research upgraded AutoNation from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $51.00 price target on the stock in a report on Thursday, June 8th. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a hold rating and issued a $44.00 price target on shares of AutoNation in a report on Sunday, September 10th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG reiterated a hold rating and issued a $46.00 price target (down previously from $50.00) on shares of AutoNation in a report on Thursday, June 22nd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $45.20.

Shares of AutoNation (NYSE AN) opened at 47.53 on Wednesday. AutoNation has a 52-week low of $38.20 and a 52-week high of $53.74. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $45.59 and its 200-day moving average price is $42.25. The firm has a market cap of $4.77 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.84 and a beta of 1.21.

AutoNation (NYSE:AN) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, August 2nd. The company reported $0.86 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.98 by ($0.12). The business had revenue of $5.28 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.56 billion. AutoNation had a net margin of 1.90% and a return on equity of 16.71%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 3.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $1.08 EPS. On average, analysts forecast that AutoNation will post $3.58 EPS for the current year.

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AutoNation announced that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase program on Tuesday, August 29th that authorizes the company to repurchase $250.00 million in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to purchase up to 6% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, Director Robert R. Grusky sold 2,800 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $38.99, for a total transaction of $109,172.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 30,713 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,197,499.87. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 3.10% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Nordea Investment Management AB increased its position in shares of AutoNation by 43.8% during the first quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 3,285 shares of the company’s stock valued at $139,000 after acquiring an additional 1,000 shares during the last quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS purchased a new stake in shares of AutoNation during the first quarter valued at approximately $206,000. Achmea Investment Management B.V. purchased a new stake in shares of AutoNation during the first quarter valued at approximately $209,000. Invictus RG increased its position in shares of AutoNation by 58.2% during the first quarter. Invictus RG now owns 4,981 shares of the company’s stock valued at $211,000 after acquiring an additional 1,833 shares during the last quarter. Finally, DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale increased its position in shares of AutoNation by 8.4% during the second quarter. DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale now owns 4,826 shares of the company’s stock valued at $215,000 after acquiring an additional 372 shares during the last quarter. 73.42% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

AutoNation Company Profile

AutoNation, Inc (AutoNation) is an automotive retailer in the United States. The Company offers a range of automotive products and services, including new vehicles, used vehicles, parts and service, which includes automotive repair and maintenance services, as well as wholesale parts and collision businesses, and automotive finance and insurance products, including vehicle service and other protection products, as well as the arranging of financing for vehicle purchases through third-party finance sources.

Analyst Recommendations for AutoNation (NYSE:AN)

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