Demand for New Cars Fuels AutoNation Results

Cars on a lot
Source: Thinkstock
Auto retailer AutoNation Inc. (NYSE: AN) reported first-quarter earnings before markets opened this morning. The company posted adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.68 on revenues of $4.1 billion. In the same period a year ago, AutoNation reported EPS of $0.56 on revenues of $3.66 billion. Thomson Reuters had consensus estimates for EPS of $0.64 and revenue of $4.03 billion.

Sales of new vehicles rose 9% in the quarter and 6% on a same-store basis. The company’s premium luxury segment income totaled $69 million in the quarter, up from $59 million a year ago. Import income totaled $71 million, up from $62 million a year ago, and income from domestic car sales rose from $50 million to $59 million.

The company’s CEO said:

AutoNation delivered solid double-digit growth in operating income, which drove a 21% increase in EPS from continuing operations in the first quarter of 2013, as we increased profitability in each of our business sectors. We continue to expect industry new vehicle sales to be approximately mid-15 million units in 2013.

The company offered no guidance in its report this morning, but the consensus estimate calls for second-quarter EPS of $0.73 on revenues of $4.31 billion. For the full year, EPS is expected to come in at $2.89 on revenues of $17.08 billion.

Shares of AutoNation closed at $42.48 last night and are inactive in premarket trading this morning. The stock’s 52-week range is $31.57-$48.92. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $46.25 before today’s report.

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