AutoZone (AZO) Raised 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 research report issued on Monday. The brokerage currently has a $979.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective would suggest a potential upside of 11.26% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Of late, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for AutoZone’s fiscal 2019 is moving up. The company’s revenue is driven by both Do-It-Yourself (DIY) retail and commercial (DIFM) businesses. For fiscal 2019, AutoZone is expected to witness year-over-year growth on the back of new programs in commercial business, store openings and improving online presence. Moreover, it frequently opens new stores and distribution centers to improve market coverage. Over the past three months, shares of AutoZone have outperformed the industry it belongs to. However, continuous rise in capital and operating expenses due to frequent opening of distribution centers and wage expenses are concerns for AutoZone.”

Other equities research analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. Barclays reissued a “buy” rating and set a $950.00 price target on shares of AutoZone in a research note on Wednesday, December 5th. Credit Suisse Group set a $854.00 price target on shares of AutoZone and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, December 4th. ValuEngine raised shares of AutoZone from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, February 4th. Morgan Stanley upped their target price on shares of AutoZone from $800.00 to $870.00 in a research note on Thursday, December 27th. Finally, Argus upped their target price on shares of AutoZone from $818.00 to $940.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, December 6th. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twelve have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. AutoZone presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $882.51.

Shares of AZO stock traded up $5.86 during trading hours on Monday, reaching $879.94. 2,937 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 280,782. AutoZone has a fifty-two week low of $590.76 and a fifty-two week high of $896.03. The firm has a market capitalization of $22.03 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.48, a PEG ratio of 1.22 and a beta of 0.68.

AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, December 4th. The company reported $13.47 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $12.21 by $1.26. The company had revenue of $2.64 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.64 billion. AutoZone had a net margin of 12.49% and a negative return on equity of 102.31%. AutoZone’s quarterly revenue was up 2.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $10.00 earnings per share. Equities research analysts anticipate that AutoZone will post 59.7 earnings per share for the current year.

In other AutoZone news, insider William R. Hackney sold 5,700 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $870.00, for a total value of $4,959,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 3,998 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,478,260. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Richard Craig Smith sold 1,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, January 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $840.00, for a total transaction of $1,260,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 4,500 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,780,000. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 46,790 shares of company stock valued at $40,211,001 in the last ninety days. Insiders own 2.80% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Penserra Capital Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of AutoZone during the fourth quarter worth $30,000. Lindbrook Capital LLC acquired a new position in AutoZone during the fourth quarter worth $35,000. CX Institutional acquired a new position in AutoZone during the fourth quarter worth $71,000. Moody National Bank Trust Division acquired a new position in AutoZone during the fourth quarter worth $99,000. Finally, Pearl River Capital LLC acquired a new position in AutoZone during the fourth quarter worth $127,000. 88.94% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About AutoZone

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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