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McClatchy-Tribune  06/21/2014 12:01 AM ET
BRIEF: AutoNation stock soars with rising auto sales [Sun Sentinel :: ]

June 21--Stock in Fort Lauderdale-based retailer AutoNation hit a 52-week high on Friday.

Wall Street swooned over better than expected sales at used-car chain CarMax, signaling good times ahead for the auto market overall. Plus, an analyst at investment firm Goldman Sachs upgraded his view of AutoNation's stock to "Buy" based on its "strong growth outlook" and "best in class" profit margins.

The price of AutoNation stock hit its highest point in a year at $59.48 during trading Friday. It closed at $59.42 per share, up by $2.91 or 5.1 percent from Thursday.

The price of CarMax stock rose 16 percent Friday to set the pace for a record close for the broader Standard and Poor's 500 index and Dow Jones industrial average.

AutoNation has been revving up sales and profits since the Great Recession based on the expanding U.S. vehicle market and what many analysts call savvy management team with top analytics.

Chief Executive Mike Jackson has correctly forecast U.S. auto market growth in recent years, when many rivals expected smaller gains. He predicts U.S. sales of new cars and trucks will top 16 million units this year, up from 15.6 million last year and 10.4 million at the depths of recession in 2009.

dhemlock@tribune.com, 305-810-5009

 

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