UPDATE 1-AutoNation Q3 misses estimates, shares off 7 percent

DETROIT Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:06am EDT

DETROIT Oct 25 (Reuters) - AutoNation Inc, the largest U.S. automotive retailer, posted slightly lower than expected third-quarter earnings and revenue on Thursday and its shares fell more than 7 percent.

The dealership group reported net income of $82 million or 66 cents per share, compared with $71 million or 48 cents per share a year ago. Analysts, on average, had expected the company to earn 67 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue came in at $3.93 billion, slightly short of the $3.95 billion that analysts had expected. In an interview, Chief Executive Mike Jackson said the earnings miss was due to AutoNation buying back fewer shares than expected.

AutoNation shares were down more than 7 percent to $44.62. Shares of other dealership groups, including Group 1 Automotive Inc, and Lithia Motors Inc, were also lower. (Reporting By Deepa Seetharaman; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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