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AutoNation Earnings Flat With Year-Ago Profit

Car dealership group AutoNation said fourth-quarter earnings were roughly flat as stronger sales were offset by higher interest and show room expenses.

The largest U.S. automotive retailer said net income was $75.2 million, or 36 cents a share, compared with $75.3 million, or 28 cents a share, a year earlier.

Income from continuing operations, excluding one-time items, was 35 cents a share.

Analysts, on average, expected 34 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial.

Revenue rose 2% to $4.5 billion, driven by an 8% increase in finance and insurance sales. New vehicle sales rose 2%.

Analysts were expecting fourth-quarter revenue of $4.6 billion.

New vehicle inventories were at a 52-day supply, down from 55 days a year eariler.