Edward Lampert, ESL Investments Reduce Stake in AutoNation

Edward Lampert‘s ESL Investments has revealed in a recent Form 4 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission the disposal of some AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE:AN) shares. 10,358 shares were sold in 5 transactions at a price of $49.98 and 700 were sold in 4 transactions at $49.25 apiece. Following the deals, ESL Investments directly holds almost 14.9 million shares, while indirectly its holdings amass around 16.9 million shares.

AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE:AN)

Another hedge fund that is invested in the US automotive retailer is Murray Stahl‘s Horizon Asset Management. During the third quarter, Stahl has slightly reduced the fund’s exposure to AutoNation. Horizon sold 100K shares, but continues to hold a little over 6 million shares valued at $317 million. A hedge fund manager that is bullish on this stock is Daniel S. Och. His fund, Oz Management, has added 585K shares to their investment in AutoNation. Och currently holds 3.2 million shares reportedly worth $171 million.

AutoNation is the biggest automotive retailer in the United States. The stock price of the auto retailer has been in an uptrend so far in 2013, advancing 18% to a current value of $49.16. Shares have a trialing Price to Earnings (P/E) ratio of 17.42 and a beta of 0.94. AutoNation does not pay a dividend. For the three months ended September 30, 2013, the company posted revenues of $4.4 billion, a 14% year-over-year increase, and Earnings Per Share (EPS) of $0.75, missing the market expectations of $0.77. Analysts expect the stock to improve performance in the current quarter and estimate revenues of $4.58 billion and EPS of $0.77. They recommend AutoNation stock mainly as a Hold, with the current price having reached the mean target of $48.50. THe highest price target is $60.

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