Asbury Automotive Group (ABG) Rating Increased to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Asbury Automotive Group (NYSE:ABG) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Wednesday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $75.00 price objective on the stock.

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 equities analysts have also issued reports on the stock. Buckingham Research increased their target price on shares of Asbury Automotive Group from $70.00 to $74.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 24th. SunTrust Banks decreased their target price on shares of Asbury Automotive Group to $70.00 and set a hold rating for the company in a research report on Wednesday, October 24th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Asbury Automotive Group from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 23rd. Finally, Morgan Stanley upgraded shares of Asbury Automotive Group from an underweight rating to an equal weight rating and increased their target price for the company from $63.00 to $71.00 in a research report on Tuesday, July 10th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $71.40.

ABG stock opened at $67.96 on Wednesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.77, a quick ratio of 0.36 and a current ratio of 1.21. Asbury Automotive Group has a fifty-two week low of $58.60 and a fifty-two week high of $77.75. The stock has a market capitalization of $1.33 billion, a P/E ratio of 10.57, a PEG ratio of 0.53 and a beta of 1.47.

Asbury Automotive Group (NYSE:ABG) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 23rd. The company reported $2.21 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.88 by $0.33. Asbury Automotive Group had a net margin of 2.52% and a return on equity of 37.83%. The business had revenue of $1.76 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.68 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.48 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.7% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, research analysts forecast that Asbury Automotive Group will post 8.09 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, Director Thomas C. Deloach, Jr. sold 15,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $74.97, for a total value of $1,124,550.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 68,652 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,146,840.44. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Juanita T. James sold 1,500 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $74.73, for a total transaction of $112,095.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 8,679 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $648,581.67. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 27,116 shares of company stock valued at $2,030,191 in the last quarter. 1.90% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY boosted its position in shares of Asbury Automotive Group by 43.0% during the 2nd quarter. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY now owns 6,657 shares of the company’s stock valued at $456,000 after purchasing an additional 2,001 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its position in shares of Asbury Automotive Group by 3.1% during the 2nd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 266,959 shares of the company’s stock valued at $18,300,000 after purchasing an additional 8,081 shares in the last quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA boosted its position in shares of Asbury Automotive Group by 2.4% during the 2nd quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA now owns 124,860 shares of the company’s stock valued at $8,559,000 after purchasing an additional 2,877 shares in the last quarter. GAM Holding AG bought a new position in shares of Asbury Automotive Group during the 2nd quarter valued at about $601,000. Finally, Russell Investments Group Ltd. boosted its position in shares of Asbury Automotive Group by 2.2% during the 2nd quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 51,188 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,512,000 after purchasing an additional 1,100 shares in the last quarter.

About Asbury Automotive Group

Asbury Automotive Group, Inc operates as an automotive retailer in the United States. It offers a range of automotive products and services, including new and used vehicles; and vehicle repair and maintenance, replacement parts, and collision repair services. The company also provides finance and insurance products, including arranging vehicle financing through third parties; and aftermarket products, such as extended service contracts, guaranteed asset protection insurance, prepaid maintenance, and credit life and disability insurance.

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