Car Dealers Rise as Sonic Automotive Reports Record 2015 Sales

24 Feb 2016

Sonic Automotive Inc. reached a new record by rising the most in four months after the U.S. dealership group reported record retail sales volume for 2015, capping a strong earnings season for auto retailers.

The company said those sales totaled 138,129 vehicles, a 1.6 percent increase from the previous year, as U.S. consumers responded to cheap gasoline and a growing jobs base. Sonic, which operates about 135 dealerships, posted fourth-quarter adjusted profit of 61 cents a share, beating the 58-cent average of 10 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Sonic rose 6.4 percent to $17.58 at 1:08 p.m. in New York after climbing as much as 9 percent, the most intraday since Oct. 28.

Shares of other auto retailers also advanced. Penske Automotive Group Inc. gained 2.7 percent to $35.77 after rising as much as 5.3 percent. The stock was raised to buy Tuesday by Buckingham Research Group on Tuesday. Penske earlier this month reported fourth-quarter revenue of $4.92 billion, exceeding the $4.73 billion average analyst estimate.