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AutoNation's Shares Gain After Nov Sales Surge


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Share price of automotive retailer AutoNation Inc. (AN - Analyst Report) increased 0.5% to $50.46 on Dec 5, 2013, after the automotive retailer reported a 13% year-over-year increase in retail new vehicle sales to 25,454 units in November. The improvement was driven by strong sales in all segments. On same-store basis, retail new vehicle sales went up 8% to 24,320 units.

Sales in the Domestic segment increased 15% to 7,409 vehicles. The segment comprises retail automotive franchises that sell vehicles manufactured by Ford Motor Co. (F - Analyst Report), Chrysler and others.

Sales in the Import segment went up 11% to 12,136 vehicles. The segment covers retail automotive franchises that sell vehicles manufactured by Toyota Motor Corp. (TM - Analyst Report), Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (HMC - Analyst Report) and others.

Sales in the Premium Luxury segment rose 13% to 5,909 vehicles during the month. The segment consists of retail automotive franchises that sell vehicles manufactured by Mercedes Benz, BMW, Lexus and others.

Auto sales in the U.S. increased 9% year over year to 1.24 million units in Nov 2013. Sales on a seasonally adjusted rate (SAAR) basis climbed 7.2% from Nov 2012 to 16.4 million vehicles. This is the highest SAAR since Feb 2007. The strong year-over-year growth is commendable considering that sales in Nov 2012 surged due to high replacement demand following Hurricane Sandy.

Based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., AutoNation is the largest automotive retailer in the U.S. The company owns and operates about 269 new vehicle franchises that sell 33 brands located in the major metropolitan markets across 15 states.

AutoNation reported all-time record earnings from operations in the third quarter of 2013. The company posted a 13.6% rise in earnings per share to 75 cents in the third quarter from 66 cents in the same quarter of 2012. However, earnings per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3 cents. This was the fourth straight quarter in which the company reported record earnings.

Revenues increased 13.7% to $4.47 billion, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The revenue growth was attributable to strong performance in all business sectors. The company’s Domestic segment was the biggest gainer in the quarter.

AutoNation currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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