AutoNation Inc (AN): Today's Featured Specialty Retail Winner

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

AutoNation ( AN) pushed the Specialty Retail industry higher today making it today's featured specialty retail winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.2%. By the end of trading, AutoNation rose 72 cents (1.6%) to $44.86 on light volume. Throughout the day, 592,547 shares of AutoNation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 918,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $44.29-$44.96 after having opened the day at $44.43 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $44.14. Other companies within the Specialty Retail industry that increased today were: Lentuo International ( LAS), up 7.8%, TravelCenters of America ( TA), up 6.9%, XO Group ( XOXO), up 3.2%, and Staples ( SPLS), up 3.1%.
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AutoNation, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates as an automotive retailer in the United States. AutoNation has a market cap of $5.36 billion and is part of the services sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.7, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 10.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are two analysts that rate AutoNation a buy, two analysts rate it a sell, and eight rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates AutoNation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, increase in net income, revenue growth and reasonable valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

On the negative front, PetSmart ( PETM), down 9.1%, Hastings Entertainment ( HAST), down 9.1%, Sport Chalet ( SPCHA), down 6.3%, and iParty Corporation ( IPT), down 6.2%, were all laggards within the specialty retail industry with Dick's Sporting Goods ( DKS) being today's specialty retail industry laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the specialty retail industry could consider SPDR S&P Retail ETF ( XRT) while those bearish on the specialty retail industry could consider ProShares Ultra Sht Consumer Goods ( SZK).

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