UBS Group cut shares of Sonic (NASDAQ:SONC) from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday, January 4th, The Fly reports.

Other equities analysts have also issued research reports about the company. BidaskClub raised Sonic from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Saturday, December 2nd. Citigroup began coverage on Sonic in a research report on Monday, September 18th. They set a buy rating and a $28.00 price target on the stock. Cowen reaffirmed a neutral rating on shares of Sonic in a research report on Tuesday, October 17th. Canaccord Genuity raised their price target on Sonic from $24.00 to $25.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 17th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised Sonic from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, October 26th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $29.64.

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Sonic (NASDAQ SONC) opened at $26.06 on Thursday. Sonic has a one year low of $22.11 and a one year high of $30.05. The company has a quick ratio of 1.81, a current ratio of 1.81 and a debt-to-equity ratio of -2.87. The firm has a market capitalization of $1,010.00, a PE ratio of 17.85, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.17 and a beta of 1.73.

Sonic (NASDAQ:SONC) last released its earnings results on Thursday, January 4th. The restaurant operator reported $0.30 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.25 by $0.05. Sonic had a negative return on equity of 28.95% and a net margin of 13.68%. The firm had revenue of $105.40 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $106.86 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.24 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 18.7% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts expect that Sonic will post 1.52 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Sonic announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share buyback plan on Thursday, October 26th that permits the company to repurchase $160.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the restaurant operator to buy up to 14.9% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are generally an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, February 16th. Investors of record on Wednesday, February 7th will be given a $0.16 dividend. This represents a $0.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.46%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, February 6th. Sonic’s dividend payout ratio is presently 43.84%.

In related news, VP Carolyn C. Cummins sold 2,347 shares of Sonic stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $25.43, for a total value of $59,684.21. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Director Federico F. Pena sold 4,575 shares of Sonic stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, January 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $25.99, for a total value of $118,904.25. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 121,001 shares of company stock worth $3,347,794. 8.28% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in SONC. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. raised its position in Sonic by 6.6% in the 2nd quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 204,401 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $5,415,000 after buying an additional 12,643 shares during the last quarter. Legal & General Group Plc raised its position in Sonic by 5.0% in the 2nd quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 81,826 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $2,168,000 after buying an additional 3,862 shares during the last quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA raised its position in Sonic by 37.9% in the 2nd quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 21,140 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $560,000 after buying an additional 5,813 shares during the last quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. raised its position in Sonic by 8.1% in the 2nd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 18,464 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $489,000 after buying an additional 1,380 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company MN raised its position in Sonic by 28.7% in the 2nd quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 79,892 shares of the restaurant operator’s stock valued at $2,116,000 after buying an additional 17,822 shares during the last quarter.

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About Sonic

Sonic Corp. operates and franchises the chain of drive-thru restaurants (Sonic Drive-Ins) in the United States. As of August 31, 2016, 3,557 Sonic Drive-Ins were in operation from coast to coast in 45 states, consisting of 345 Company drive-thrus and 3,212 franchise drive-thrus. As of August 31, 2016, its restaurant design and construction consisted of a kitchen housed in a one-story building, which was approximately 1,500 square feet, flanked by canopy-covered rows of 16 to 24 parking spaces, with each space having its own payment terminal, intercom speaker system and menu board.

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