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

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

AutoNation ( AN) pushed the Specialty Retail industry lower today making it today's featured Specialty Retail laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.4%. By the end of trading, AutoNation fell $1.23 (-2.4%) to $49.84 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 1,469,174 shares of AutoNation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 963,000 shares. The stock ranged in price between $49.80-$51.04 after having opened the day at $50.85 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $51.07. Other companies within the Specialty Retail industry that declined today were: China Auto Logistics ( CALI), down 11.4%, CarMax ( KMX), down 9.4%, Lentuo International ( LAS), down 6.2% and Sport Chalet ( SPCHB), down 5.9%.

AutoNation, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates as an automotive retailer in the United States. The company operates in three segments: Domestic, Import, and Premium Luxury. AutoNation has a market cap of $6.3 billion and is part of the services sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.1, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 29.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates AutoNation a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates AutoNation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share and increase in net income. 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 positive front, 1-800 Flowers.com ( FLWS), up 6.7%, Finish Line ( FINL), up 6.2%, Rush ( RUSHB), up 5.1% and EZCorp ( EZPW), up 4.6% , were all gainers within the specialty retail industry with Dick's Sporting Goods ( DKS) being today's featured specialty retail industry leader.

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).

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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