Empresas y finanzas

AutoNation second-quarter profit gets boost from higher demand

(Reuters) - AutoNation Inc , the largest U.S. auto retailer, posted a 15 percent rise in quarterly profit as demand remained strong on the back of an improving economy and low oil prices.

New vehicle sale, which accounts for more than half of total revenue, increased 8.4 percent to $2.97 billion.

Revenue from the company's used vehicle sale rose 12.4 percent to $1.2 billion.

The retailer's cost of sales increased slightly by 8.9 percent to $4.41 billion.

Automakers reported a 3.9 percent rise in U.S. sales in June and the National Automobile Dealers Association raised its forecast for 2015 U.S. auto, making it the sixth straight year of solid gains since the recession.

"We reconfirm our expectation of U.S. industry new vehicle sales to be above 17 million units in 2015," Chief Executive Mike Jackson said.

The company has been doing better than other dealers, helped by its large presence in markets such us California, Florida and Texas, regions relatively unaffected by bad weather.

Net income rose to $115.1 million, or $1 per share for the second quarter ended June 30, from $100.4 million, or 83 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 9.1 percent to $5.22 billion.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.02 per share on revenue of $5.25 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based company had risen 7.1 pct compared to the S&P 500 Automotive Retail sub index <.SPLRCAUTR> which had risen 12.2 pct this year.

(Reporting by Radhika Rukmangadhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)