AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE:AN) Sees Significant Drop in Short Interest

AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE:AN) was the target of a significant decrease in short interest during the month of November. As of November 15th, there was short interest totalling 6,590,000 shares, a decrease of 5.3% from the October 31st total of 6,960,000 shares. Currently, 8.4% of the shares of the company are sold short. Based on an average daily volume of 590,900 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 11.2 days.

In other AutoNation news, major shareholder Edward S. Lampert sold 71,920 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, September 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.96, for a total transaction of $3,736,963.20. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director Robert R. Grusky sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, September 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $50.00, for a total transaction of $250,000.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 44,611 shares in the company, valued at $2,230,550. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 206,376 shares of company stock worth $10,653,546. Insiders own 2.40% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in AN. Maverick Capital Ltd. purchased a new stake in AutoNation in the third quarter valued at approximately $566,000. Squarepoint Ops LLC raised its stake in AutoNation by 78.5% in the third quarter. Squarepoint Ops LLC now owns 319,738 shares of the company’s stock valued at $16,211,000 after purchasing an additional 140,629 shares in the last quarter. Voloridge Investment Management LLC purchased a new stake in AutoNation in the third quarter valued at approximately $2,668,000. Bank of Hawaii purchased a new stake in AutoNation in the third quarter valued at approximately $758,000. Finally, Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio raised its stake in AutoNation by 8.8% in the third quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 56,080 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,843,000 after purchasing an additional 4,547 shares in the last quarter. 64.19% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of AutoNation stock opened at $50.93 on Tuesday. AutoNation has a 12-month low of $32.83 and a 12-month high of $53.19. The company has a market cap of $4.56 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.34, a PEG ratio of 4.96 and a beta of 1.02. The company has a current ratio of 0.85, a quick ratio of 0.22 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.63. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $51.40 and its 200-day moving average price is $46.69.

AutoNation (NYSE:AN) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 29th. The company reported $1.10 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.11 by ($0.01). AutoNation had a return on equity of 14.37% and a net margin of 1.82%. The firm had revenue of $5.46 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.38 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.24 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 2.1% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, sell-side analysts predict that AutoNation will post 4.52 earnings per share for the current year.

AN has been the topic of several recent research reports. ValuEngine downgraded shares of AutoNation from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 20th. Cfra raised shares of AutoNation from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, October 28th. Finally, Morgan Stanley increased their price target on shares of AutoNation from $39.00 to $42.00 and gave the stock an “underweight” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 15th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $43.18.

About AutoNation

AutoNation, Inc, through its subsidiaries, operates as an automotive retailer in the United States. The company operates through three segments: Domestic, Import, and Premium Luxury. It offers a range of automotive products and services, including new and used vehicles; and parts and services, such as automotive repair and maintenance, and wholesale parts and collision services.

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