Asbury Automotive Group (ABG) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Sell

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Asbury Automotive Group (NYSE:ABG) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note released on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. is one of the largest automotive retailers. Asbury offers customers an extensive range of automotive products and services, including new and used vehicle sales and related financing and insurance, vehicle maintenance and repair services, replacement parts and service contracts. They sell used vehicles at all franchised dealership locations and stand-alone stores. Used vehicle sales include the sale of used vehicles to individual retail customers and the sale of used vehicles to other dealers at auction. They provide vehicle repair and maintenance services, sell replacement parts, and recondition used vehicles at all of our dealerships. “

A number of other research analysts have also recently issued reports on ABG. Jefferies Group restated a hold rating and set a $61.00 price objective on shares of Asbury Automotive Group in a report on Thursday, October 12th. TheStreet upgraded shares of Asbury Automotive Group from a c+ rating to a b- rating in a report on Wednesday, September 27th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $56.75.

Asbury Automotive Group (ABG) traded up $0.85 during midday trading on Thursday, reaching $65.50. 236,700 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 241,330. The company has a quick ratio of 0.38, a current ratio of 1.25 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.60. The firm has a market cap of $1,345.86, a price-to-earnings ratio of 8.52, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.16 and a beta of 1.56. Asbury Automotive Group has a 52 week low of $49.10 and a 52 week high of $71.00.

Asbury Automotive Group (NYSE:ABG) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 24th. The company reported $1.48 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.57 by ($0.09). The company had revenue of $1.60 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.68 billion. Asbury Automotive Group had a return on equity of 42.24% and a net margin of 2.54%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 4.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $1.52 earnings per share. sell-side analysts forecast that Asbury Automotive Group will post 6.25 earnings per share for the current year.

In other news, CEO Craig T. Monaghan sold 16,096 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, October 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.08, for a total value of $983,143.68. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 125,408 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,659,920.64. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Juanita T. James sold 1,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $66.16, for a total transaction of $99,240.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 265,884 shares of company stock worth $16,426,020 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 11.90% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. SG Americas Securities LLC bought a new stake in shares of Asbury Automotive Group in the 2nd quarter valued at $1,291,000. Chicago Equity Partners LLC boosted its holdings in Asbury Automotive Group by 98.6% during the 2nd quarter. Chicago Equity Partners LLC now owns 35,080 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,984,000 after acquiring an additional 17,420 shares during the last quarter. AHL Partners LLP purchased a new position in Asbury Automotive Group during the 2nd quarter worth $370,000. Macquarie Group Ltd. boosted its holdings in Asbury Automotive Group by 8.5% during the 3rd quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 414,366 shares of the company’s stock worth $25,318,000 after acquiring an additional 32,339 shares during the last quarter. Finally, State Street Corp boosted its holdings in Asbury Automotive Group by 4.4% during the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 592,006 shares of the company’s stock worth $33,477,000 after acquiring an additional 24,719 shares during the last quarter.

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Asbury Automotive Group Company Profile

Asbury Automotive Group, Inc is an automotive retailer in the United States. As of December 31, 2016, the Company owned and operated 93 new vehicle franchises, representing 28 brands of automobiles at 77 dealership locations, and 23 collision centers in the United States. In addition, as of December 31, 2016, it owned and operated two standalone used vehicle stores in Florida.

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