AutoNation Shares Hit New All-Time High After Company Reports Record Quarterly Earnings

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  • AutoNation's stock reached a new all-time record of more than $131.12 a share Thursday.
  • The company reported its sixth-consecutive quarterly earnings record.
  • AutoNation also announced a major acquisition as well as a $1 billion stock repurchase program.

AutoNation's stock reached a new all-time record of $131.12 a share Thursday after the nation's largest seller of new cars reported its sixth consecutive quarterly earnings record.

AutoNation beat Wall Street's profit and sales estimates, led by resilient consumer demand outpacing vehicle supplies due to an ongoing global shortage of semiconductor chips that has resulted in record car prices and profits.

Shares of the Florida-based dealership group jumped by as much as 12% on Thursday before retreating to close at $126 a share, up by 7.7%. AutoNation's stock is up by about 80% so far this year.

The company reported adjusted earnings per share of $5.12 in the third quarter — an all-time record — beating analysts' estimates of $4.20 a share, according to Refinitiv. AutoNation's revenue for the quarter jumped by 18% to $6.38 billion compared with estimates of $6.31 billion.

AutoNation reported net income of $361.7 million, almost double the $182.6 million in profit it generated a year earlier.

"We are preselling what's being scheduled to be produced," AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson said Thursday on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "They're coming in and going right out ... the demand is there."

In addition to the record earnings, AutoNation also announced an acquisition that's expected to generate about $420 million in annual revenue. The company's board also approved the repurchase of up to $1 billion of AutoNation's common stock.

AutoNation previously said it was repurchasing 7.9 million shares of common stock, or 11% of shares outstanding, for an aggregate purchase price of $879 million in the third quarter.

AutoNation's earnings were led by a 53% increase in used vehicle sales compared with a year earlier, while new vehicle sales were roughly flat.

The company reported same-store new gross profit per new vehicle was a record $5,484, up $2,949. Gross profit per used vehicle was $2,104, up $108 from a year earlier and 51% compared with the third quarter of 2019, according to the company.

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