AutoNation Sales on the Rise and 4 Stocks Reaching 52-Week Highs

Autonation’s (NYSE:AN) retail new vehicle unit sales during September 2012 reached 22,982, which is a 23 percent rise versus September 2011. Retail new vehicle unit sales for September 2012 for the company’s operating segments were: 6,870 for Domestic, 10 percent increase compared to September 2011; 11,854 for Import, a 38 percent rise compared to September 2011; and 4,258 for Premium Luxury, an 11 percent rise compared to September 2011. For 2012’s Q3, AutoNation’s retail new vehicle unit sales, as reported to the applicable automotive manufacturers, saw a 22 percent rise, with Domestic increasing 12 percent, Import rising 35 percent, and Premium Luxury up 6 percent, all versus Q3 of 2011. September 2012 and September 2011 both had 25 selling days, and AutoNation predicts that it will report October 2012 retail new vehicle unit sales on Nov. 2. The shares closed at $45.10, up $0.55 or 1.23% on the day. They have traded in a 52-week range of $30.46 to $44.69.

Anheuser-Busch Inbev (NYSE:BUD): Beer shipments in the U.S. have risen for the first time since 2008, another indication that consumers have begun to emerge from the recession. The majority of the rebound is driven by small-batch “craft” brewers, which reflects the ever-changing tastes and forces the big dogs like Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors (NYSE:TAP) to continue turning to upstarts’ playbooks. U.S. beer shipments saw an increase of 1.9 percent to 141.4 million barrels during the first eight months of 2012 after it dropped for three straight years, states the Beer Institute, the Wall Street Journal reports. The shares closed at $88.38, down $0.05 or 0.06% on the day. They have traded in a 52-week range of $51.51 to $88.79.

Are these stocks a buy or sell? Let us help you decide. Check out our Wall St. Cheat Sheet Stock Picker Newsletter now >>

Coca-Cola Enterprise (NYSE:CCE) announced two new initiatives directed toward bettering recycling behavior and infrastructure, as part of its move to be a low-carbon, zero-waste business. CCE’s sustainability plan sets the standard for sustainable packaging, achieving zero waste in its own operations, and recycling more packaging than it uses. CCE will create a new joint venture in France with PET recycler APPE to raise the capacity of its plastics reprocessing facility by 70 percent. This is expected to recycle 20,000 more tons of plastic into food-grade packaging per year. CCE will fund a unique research partnership explaining the ways consumer behavior change strategies have the ability to better at-home recycling rates in Great Britain and France, which means that more bottles enter the recycling stream. The research program is to be delivered together with the University of Exeter and will be based upon in-depth, ethnographic research with households in Great Britain and France over a ten-month period. The shares closed at $31.70, down $0.06 or 0.19% on the day. They have traded in a 52-week range of $23.35 to $31.90.

Merck & Company (NYSE:MRK) announced Phase IIb data for MK-3102, which is Merk’s investigational once-weekly DPP-4 inhibitor that is being developed to treat type 2 diabetes. MK-3102’s 12-week study showed a significant reduction of blood sugar compared with placebo, with symptomatic hypoglycemia being similar to placebo, in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. The data were presented at the 48th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes located in Berlin. The shares closed at $45.78, up $0.31 or 0.68% on the day. They have traded in a 52-week range of $30.99 to $45.70.

Ocwen Financial Corp (NYSE:OCN) along with private equity firm WL Ross & Co. LLC have entered into an agreement under which Ocwen is to acquire Homeward Residential Holdings, including its various residential mortgage loan servicing and origination operating subsidiaries, for about $588 million in cash and $162 million in Ocwen convertible preferred stock. Homeward services has nearly 422,000 mortgage loans that has an aggregate unpaid principal balance exceeding $77 billion, and its loan origination business includes correspondent and retail lending and has a main focus on high quality Agency-conforming mortgages. Homeward brings with it a global servicing platform along with an increasing origination business already operating at a $10 billion annual run-rate after it launched in late 2011. Subject to regulatory approvals, the transaction will close by the year’s end. Ocwen is not going to find it necessary to raise any more equity capital to close the transaction. The shares closed at $34.88, up $5.92 or 20.44% on the day. They have traded in a 52-week range of $11.72 to $29.13.

Don’t Miss: Big Banks to Main Street: What Recession?