AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday.
According to Zacks, “AutoZone’s earnings and revenues beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the second-quarter fiscal 2018. Compared to the year-ago figures, both earnings per share and revenues were higher. The company uses its significant cash flow to open new stores every year. During the quarter, it opened 35, three and two new stores in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, respectively. Also, a strong cash flow enables it to pursue aggressively share repurchase Programs. However, a continuous rise in capital and operating expenses as a result of the frequent opening of distribution centers is a concern for AutoZone. Also, in the last three months, the company’s shares have underperformed in the industry it belongs to.”
Several other brokerages have also recently weighed in on AZO. Stephens set a $840.00 price target on AutoZone and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 16th. Argus increased their target price on AutoZone from $675.00 to $875.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. Credit Suisse Group set a $790.00 target price on AutoZone and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, January 4th. Royal Bank of Canada increased their target price on AutoZone and gave the stock a “sector perform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 6th. Finally, Guggenheim cut AutoZone from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note 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 has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $754.28.
AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 27th. The company reported $8.47 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $8.81 by ($0.34). The firm had revenue of $2.41 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.39 billion. AutoZone had a negative return on equity of 85.64% and a net margin of 12.00%. AutoZone’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $7.75 earnings per share. equities research analysts predict that AutoZone will post 49.24 earnings per share for the current year.
In other news, insider Albert Saltiel sold 2,150 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, December 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $703.09, for a total transaction of $1,511,643.50. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 2,276 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,600,232.84. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider William W. Graves sold 10,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, January 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $744.78, for a total value of $7,820,190.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 12,574 shares in the company, valued at $9,364,863.72. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 18,887 shares of company stock worth $14,165,983. Corporate insiders own 2.80% of the company’s stock.
Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Vulcan Value Partners LLC purchased a new stake in AutoZone during the 4th quarter worth approximately $291,129,000. Millennium Management LLC lifted its position in AutoZone by 250.1% in the 4th quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 446,202 shares of the company’s stock worth $317,415,000 after buying an additional 318,764 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted its position in AutoZone by 27.8% in the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 1,301,355 shares of the company’s stock worth $764,272,000 after buying an additional 282,939 shares in the last quarter. Alyeska Investment Group L.P. purchased a new stake in AutoZone in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $141,811,000. Finally, Ameriprise Financial Inc. lifted its position in AutoZone by 802.6% in the 3rd quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 236,396 shares of the company’s stock worth $140,681,000 after buying an additional 210,205 shares in the last quarter. 95.82% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
AutoZone Company Profile
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 October 27, 2016, the Company operated through 6,029 locations in the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Brazil.
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