AutoZone (AZO) Hits New 52-Week High at $800.83

AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE:AZO) hit a new 52-week high during mid-day trading on Thursday . The stock traded as high as $800.83 and last traded at $799.47, with a volume of 13740 shares. The stock had previously closed at $790.50.

Several brokerages have issued reports on AZO. Argus lowered their target price on shares of AutoZone to $820.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research note on Thursday, August 30th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of AutoZone from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $860.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, August 28th. Morgan Stanley lifted their target price on shares of AutoZone from $760.00 to $800.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Tuesday. Stephens reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $825.00 target price on shares of AutoZone in a research note on Wednesday, September 19th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted their target price on shares of AutoZone to $880.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 19th. Eight research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eleven have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $790.65.

The stock has a market cap of $19.96 billion, a P/E ratio of 15.87, a PEG ratio of 1.09 and a beta of 0.89.

AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, September 18th. The company reported $18.54 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $17.92 by $0.62. AutoZone had a net margin of 11.92% and a negative return on equity of 99.70%. The company had revenue of $3.56 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.60 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $15.27 earnings per share. AutoZone’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.3% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, sell-side analysts forecast that AutoZone, Inc. will post 58.43 EPS for the current year.

AutoZone declared that its board has approved a share buyback plan on Wednesday, September 26th that authorizes the company to repurchase $1.25 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to reacquire up to 6.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are typically a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

In other AutoZone news, Chairman William C. Rhodes III sold 23,700 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $780.06, for a total value of $18,487,422.00. Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 37,918 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $29,578,315.08. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, insider William W. Graves sold 18,900 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $776.37, for a total transaction of $14,673,393.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 3,450 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,678,476.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 60,487 shares of company stock worth $46,667,608 in the last ninety days. 2.80% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Massey Quick Simon & CO. LLC increased its stake in AutoZone by 222.4% during the third quarter. Massey Quick Simon & CO. LLC now owns 187 shares of the company’s stock worth $145,000 after purchasing an additional 129 shares during the period. ELM Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in AutoZone during the third quarter worth about $163,000. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. increased its stake in AutoZone by 197.5% during the second quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 235 shares of the company’s stock worth $158,000 after purchasing an additional 156 shares during the period. First Interstate Bank increased its stake in AutoZone by 332.7% during the second quarter. First Interstate Bank now owns 238 shares of the company’s stock worth $160,000 after purchasing an additional 183 shares during the period. Finally, Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in AutoZone during the second quarter worth about $173,000. 94.56% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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About AutoZone (NYSE:AZO)

AutoZone, Inc retails and distributes automotive replacement parts and accessories. It offers various products for cars, sport utility vehicles, vans, and light trucks, including new and remanufactured automotive hard parts, maintenance items, accessories, and non-automotive products. The company's products include A/C compressors, batteries and accessories, bearings, belts and hoses, calipers, carburetors, chassis, clutches, CV axles, engines, fuel pumps, fuses, ignition and lighting products, mufflers, radiators, thermostats, starters and alternators, and water pumps.

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