AutoZone (AZO) Lifted to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Tuesday. The brokerage currently has a $819.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price indicates a potential upside of 11.42% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “The Zacks Consensus Estimate for AutoZone’s quarterly results has been going up of late. The company’s strong cash flow helps it to open new stores every year and repurchase shares aggressively, without compromising on its financial strength. Also, the average age of cars is rising that creates an increased demand for auto parts. Over the past six months, AutoZone has outperformed the industry it belongs to.”

Several other brokerages have also recently commented on AZO. Deutsche Bank raised their target price on AutoZone from $625.00 to $700.00 in a research report on Thursday, December 7th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $720.00 target price on shares of AutoZone in a research report on Wednesday, December 6th. Robert W. Baird reissued a “hold” rating and set a $590.00 price objective on shares of AutoZone in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Argus lifted their price objective on AutoZone from $675.00 to $875.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday. Finally, Citigroup lifted their price objective on AutoZone to $820.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, December 6th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have issued a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $747.06.

Shares of AutoZone (NYSE AZO) traded up $3.49 during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $735.08. The company had a trading volume of 232,725 shares, compared to its average volume of 393,634. The company has a quick ratio of 0.14, a current ratio of 0.93 and a debt-to-equity ratio of -3.27. The firm has a market cap of $20,010.00, a PE ratio of 16.37, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.16 and a beta of 0.74. AutoZone has a twelve month low of $491.13 and a twelve month high of $797.89.

AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, December 5th. The company reported $10.00 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $9.90 by $0.10. The business had revenue of $2.59 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.54 billion. AutoZone had a negative return on equity of 78.83% and a net margin of 11.66%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 4.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $9.36 EPS. sell-side analysts expect that AutoZone will post 49.25 EPS for the current year.

In related news, insider James C. Griffith sold 1,250 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, January 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $794.70, for a total value of $993,375.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 1,353 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,075,229.10. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, VP Charles Pleas III sold 10,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, December 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $700.00, for a total transaction of $7,000,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 14,377 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $10,063,900. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 96,710 shares of company stock valued at $69,098,826. Company insiders own 2.80% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. State Street Corp lifted its position in AutoZone by 5.1% during the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 1,363,261 shares of the company’s stock worth $777,679,000 after acquiring an additional 66,734 shares during the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its holdings in shares of AutoZone by 27.8% during the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 1,301,355 shares of the company’s stock worth $764,272,000 after purchasing an additional 282,939 shares during the period. Nordea Investment Management AB increased its holdings in shares of AutoZone by 4.4% during the third quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 1,072,553 shares of the company’s stock worth $638,287,000 after purchasing an additional 45,458 shares during the period. Burgundy Asset Management Ltd. increased its holdings in shares of AutoZone by 0.3% during the third quarter. Burgundy Asset Management Ltd. now owns 592,020 shares of the company’s stock worth $352,317,000 after purchasing an additional 1,888 shares during the period. Finally, Koch Industries Inc. bought a new position in shares of AutoZone during the second quarter worth approximately $297,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 99.00% of the company’s stock.

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About AutoZone

Autozone, Inc is a retailer and distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories in the United States. The Company operates through the Auto Parts Locations segment. The Auto Parts Locations segment is a retailer and distributor of automotive parts and accessories. As of August 27, 2016, the Company operated through 5,814 locations in the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Brazil.

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