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

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 higher today making it today's featured specialty retail winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.3%. By the end of trading, AutoNation rose $0.60 (1.3%) to $48.23 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 1,485,053 shares of AutoNation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 819,700 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $47.29-$48.36 after having opened the day at $47.52 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $47.63. Other companies within the Specialty Retail industry that increased today were: Hastings Entertainment ( HAST), up 17.4%, DGSE Companies ( DGSE), up 3.8%, Books-A-Million ( BAMM), up 1.7% and Outerwall ( OUTR), up 1.6%.

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 $6.0 billion and is part of the services sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.4, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 4.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. 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, growth in earnings per share, increase in stock price during the past year 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 negative front, Birks Group ( BGI), down 11.4%, Staples ( SPLS), down 4.0%, Winmark Corporation ( WINA), down 3.5% and Dick's Sporting Goods ( DKS), down 3.5% , were all laggards within the specialty retail industry with Michael Kors Holdings ( KORS) 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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