Sonic Co. (SONC) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Sonic Co. (NASDAQ:SONC) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report issued on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Sonic Corp. operates and franchises one of the largest chain of drive-in restaurants in the United States. Sonic restaurants offer made-to-order hamburgers and other sandwiches and feature Sonic signature items, such as footlong coney cheese dogs, hand-battered onion rings, tater tots, specialty soft drinks, including cherry limeades and slushes, and frozen desserts. At a typical Sonic restaurant, a customer drives into one of 24 to 36 covered drive-in spaces, orders through an intercom, and has the food delivered by a carhop within an average of four minutes. “

A number of other research firms have also recently weighed in on SONC. Canaccord Genuity cut shares of Sonic from a buy rating to a hold rating and decreased their price objective for the company from $30.00 to $24.00 in a research report on Monday, March 20th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $26.00 price target on shares of Sonic in a research report on Wednesday, March 29th. Barclays PLC reduced their price target on shares of Sonic from $26.00 to $24.00 and set an underweight rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, March 29th. Cowen and Company reduced their price target on shares of Sonic to $24.00 in a research report on Friday, March 24th. Finally, Stephens raised shares of Sonic from an equal weight rating to an overweight rating and increased their price target for the stock from $26.00 to $32.00 in a research report on Monday, April 24th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Sonic currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $27.77.

Analyst Recommendations for Sonic (NASDAQ:SONC)

Shares of Sonic (NASDAQ:SONC) opened at 28.37 on Thursday. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $26.48 and a 200-day moving average price of $25.94. Sonic has a 1-year low of $21.12 and a 1-year high of $31.21. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.20 billion, a PE ratio of 20.59 and a beta of 1.49.

Sonic (NASDAQ:SONC) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, March 28th. The restaurant operator reported $0.15 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.14 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $100.20 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $104.32 million. Sonic had a net margin of 10.97% and a negative return on equity of 88.45%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 24.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.18 EPS. On average, analysts forecast that Sonic will post $1.25 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, May 19th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, May 10th will be paid a $0.14 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Monday, May 8th. This represents a $0.56 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.97%. Sonic’s payout ratio is currently 41.79%.

In other Sonic news, VP Carolyn C. Cummins sold 2,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, May 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $28.39, for a total value of $70,975.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. 6.24% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of SONC. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in Sonic by 121,423.6% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 5,323,947 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $135,015,000 after buying an additional 5,319,566 shares in the last quarter. Chilton Investment Co. LLC raised its position in Sonic by 1.1% in the third quarter. Chilton Investment Co. LLC now owns 3,772,117 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $98,754,000 after buying an additional 39,249 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in Sonic by 1.0% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 3,553,354 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $90,114,000 after buying an additional 33,747 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors raised its position in Sonic by 6.7% in the third quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 3,231,757 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock worth $84,607,000 after buying an additional 202,316 shares in the last quarter. Finally, RidgeWorth Capital Management LLC bought a new position in Sonic during the first quarter worth approximately $50,669,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 96.33% of the company’s stock.

About Sonic

Sonic Corp. operates and franchises the chain of drive-thru restaurants (Sonic Drive-Ins) in the United States. As of August 31, 2016, 3,557 Sonic Drive-Ins were in operation from coast to coast in 45 states, consisting of 345 Company drive-thrus and 3,212 franchise drive-thrus. As of August 31, 2016, its restaurant design and construction consisted of a kitchen housed in a one-story building, which was approximately 1,500 square feet, flanked by canopy-covered rows of 16 to 24 parking spaces, with each space having its own payment terminal, intercom speaker system and menu board.

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