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Sell-Side Projections in Focus for These Shares: AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE:AN)

Sell-side analysts often undertake stock analysis to give their opinions of whether they believe that shares should be bought, sold, or held. Using ratings provided by analysts to Zacks Research, we can see that the current average broker rating on shares of AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE:AN) is currently 3. This consensus rating uses a number scale from 1 to 5. A low number between 1 and 2 indicates a Buy or Strong Buy.  A 3 rating would represent a Hold, while a 4 or 5 indicates a Sell rating. After a recent check, we can see that 1 sell-side analysts have rated the stock a Strong Buy or Buy, based analysts polled by Zacks Research.

Investors have many things to keep an eye on when trading the equity market. Riding through the ups and downs that come with market volatility may take some getting used to for beginners. Even if the investor does all the proper research and stock homework, things may not go as planned. One of the more important aspects of securing long-term success in the markets is learning how to execute a well-planned strategy all the way through to completion. Finding that right stocks to add to the portfolio may take some time and effort, but it can be accomplished. Deciding on the proper time to sell can be the trickiest part. Many investors will have the tendency to panic when markets are suffering. Although market panic may be fairly normal, it can have longer lasting adverse effects on the stock portfolio. 

Sell-side Wall Street analysts will commonly offer stock price target estimates. Many investors pay close attention to where the analysts project the stock moving in the future. After a recent scan, we can see that analysts polled by Zacks Research have set a consensus price target of $46.75 on shares of AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE:AN). Price target estimates can be calculated using various methods, and they may be quite different depending on the individual analyst. A fully researched analyst report will generally provide detailed reasoning for a specific target price prediction. Some investors may track analyst targets very closely and use the information to complement their own stock research.

Taking a quick look at the current quarter EPS consensus estimate for AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE:AN), we can see that the most recent level is sitting at 1.08. This EPS projection uses 7 Sell-Side analysts polled by Zacks Research. For the previous reported quarter, the company posted a quarterly EPS of 1.24. Covering analysts have the tough job of following companies and offering future estimates. These estimates are often closely followed on the Street, and earnings beats or misses revolve around these projections. Sometimes these predictions are extremely close to the actual reported number, and other times they may be way off. When a company posts actual earnings numbers, the surprise factor can lead to sudden stock price fluctuations. If a company meets and beats estimates and posts a positive earnings surprise, the stock may see a near-term bump. On the other end, a negative surprise may send the stock in the opposite direction. Many investors will choose to trade with caution around earnings releases and wait to make a move until after the major activity has subsided.

Zooming in on recent stock price action for AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE:AN), we note that shares are trading near the 38.06 level. Investors will often follow stock price levels in relation to the 52-week high and low levels. The 52-week high is presently 54.61, and the 52-week low is sitting at 33.24. When a stock price is getting close to either the 52-week high or 52-week low, investors may track activity to watch for a move past the established mark. Over the last 12 weeks, shares have seen a change of 4.19%. Heading further back to the start of the year, we note that shares have seen a change of 6.61%. Focusing in closer to the last 4 weeks, shares have seen a change of 3.28%. Over the past five trading days, the stock has changed -3.01%.

When it comes to investing in the stock market, there are many different styles and strategies that can be used. Some investors will want to do all the work themselves to try to adopt a specific plan all their own. Others will attempt to replicate strategies that have worked for others in the past. Of course, there is no sure bet strategy that will produce instant investing success. Taking the time to study all the different investing methods may be useful for some, but not as helpful for others. What worked in the past may not work again in the future. Investors will often need to decide how much risk they are willing to take on when investing in stocks. Once the risk appetite is figured out, they may want to decide how much and how aggressive they want to invest.