AutoZone (AZO) Trading 6.7% Higher After Earnings Beat

AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE:AZO)’s share price traded up 6.7% during trading on Wednesday after the company announced better than expected quarterly earnings. The company traded as high as $894.37 and last traded at $880.07. 947,370 shares changed hands during trading, an increase of 210% from the average session volume of 305,588 shares. The stock had previously closed at $824.46.

The company reported $13.47 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $12.21 by $1.26. The firm had revenue of $2.64 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.64 billion. AutoZone had a negative return on equity of 102.31% and a net margin of 12.49%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $10.00 EPS.

AutoZone declared that its board has initiated a share repurchase program on Wednesday, September 26th that allows the company to buyback $1.25 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to repurchase up to 6.1% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

A number of equities analysts have issued reports on the company. Credit Suisse Group increased their price target on AutoZone from $854.00 to $930.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Thursday. Argus increased their price target on AutoZone to $940.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday. Barclays restated a “buy” rating and set a $950.00 price target on shares of AutoZone in a report on Wednesday. Stephens restated an “overweight” rating and set a $975.00 price target on shares of AutoZone in a report on Wednesday. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $970.00 target price on shares of AutoZone in a research report on Tuesday. Six research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, ten have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. AutoZone presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $866.74.

In other news, Director William Andrew Mckenna sold 3,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, October 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $747.15, for a total transaction of $2,241,450.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 8,268 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,177,436.20. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Chairman William C. Rhodes III sold 23,700 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $780.06, for a total value of $18,487,422.00. Following the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 37,918 shares in the company, valued at $29,578,315.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 60,487 shares of company stock worth $46,667,608 over the last ninety days. 2.80% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Great Lakes Advisors LLC raised its position in AutoZone by 1.0% in the 3rd quarter. Great Lakes Advisors LLC now owns 2,037 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,580,000 after buying an additional 20 shares during the last quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. raised its position in AutoZone by 29.8% in the 3rd quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 305 shares of the company’s stock valued at $237,000 after buying an additional 70 shares during the last quarter. Morningstar Investment Services LLC raised its position in AutoZone by 8.6% in the 3rd quarter. Morningstar Investment Services LLC now owns 994 shares of the company’s stock valued at $771,000 after buying an additional 79 shares during the last quarter. Tyers Asset Management LLC raised its position in AutoZone by 3.1% in the 2nd quarter. Tyers Asset Management LLC now owns 2,640 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,771,000 after buying an additional 80 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. raised its position in AutoZone by 2.0% in the 2nd quarter. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. now owns 4,718 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,165,000 after buying an additional 93 shares during the last quarter. 92.10% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

The stock has a market cap of $22.49 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.26, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.23 and a beta of 0.89.

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About AutoZone (NYSE:AZO)

AutoZone Inc retails and distributes automotive replacement parts and accessories. The company 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. Its 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, starters and alternators, thermostats, and water pumps.

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