Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Avis Budget Group, Inc. (CAR) to “Hold”

Avis Budget Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:CAR) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Intense competitive pressures reduce the profitability of Avis Budget and contract its market share. High fleet costs and continued pricing pressure further continue to hinder Avis Budget’s earnings. Volatility in market demand, foreign currency risks and dependence on third-parties remain additional headwinds, leading to a tempered guidance. The company also underperformed the industry year to date. However, Avis Budget is aggressively increasing its presence in existing markets, while foraying in new markets like Iceland and Costa Rica. At the same time, the company is focusing on expanding its Budget brand, taking its multi-brand strategy to the next level. Avis Budget’s various acquisitions and collaborations will enhance its operational foothold in global markets. Moreover, sustained productivity growth, implementation of pricing initiatives and potential revenue-generating synergies from acquisitions bode well for the future.”

CAR has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Morgan Stanley dropped their price target on Avis Budget Group from $19.00 to $18.00 and set an “underweight” rating on the stock in a research note on Friday, August 25th. Deutsche Bank AG reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Avis Budget Group in a research note on Monday, June 26th. ValuEngine raised Avis Budget Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 6th. Credit Suisse Group reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Avis Budget Group in a research note on Thursday, September 14th. Finally, MKM Partners reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $40.00 price target on shares of Avis Budget Group in a research note on Wednesday, June 28th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating, six have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $36.33.

Shares of Avis Budget Group (NASDAQ:CAR) traded up 0.46% during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $39.69. 616,489 shares of the company were exchanged. Avis Budget Group has a 52-week low of $20.71 and a 52-week high of $41.53. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $36.53 and its 200-day moving average is $30.07. The company has a market capitalization of $3.28 billion, a PE ratio of 46.75 and a beta of 2.48.

Avis Budget Group (NASDAQ:CAR) last released its earnings results on Monday, August 7th. The business services provider reported $0.30 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.62 by ($0.32). The firm had revenue of $2.24 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.27 billion. Avis Budget Group had a return on equity of 74.80% and a net margin of 0.86%. Avis Budget Group’s revenue was down .2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.63 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts forecast that Avis Budget Group will post $2.59 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In other Avis Budget Group news, insider Ronald L. Nelson sold 150,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $37.30, for a total transaction of $5,595,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 510,714 shares in the company, valued at approximately $19,049,632.20. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director John D. Jr. Hardy sold 908 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $32.78, for a total value of $29,764.24. Following the sale, the director now owns 908 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $29,764.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 185,708 shares of company stock valued at $6,878,212 over the last 90 days. Corporate insiders own 2.80% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in CAR. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in Avis Budget Group by 13,924.6% during the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 7,540,051 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $223,034,000 after acquiring an additional 7,486,288 shares during the period. FMR LLC boosted its position in Avis Budget Group by 815.5% during the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 1,779,701 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $48,532,000 after acquiring an additional 1,585,301 shares during the period. Bank of Montreal Can boosted its position in Avis Budget Group by 106.5% during the 2nd quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 2,112,341 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $57,604,000 after acquiring an additional 1,089,508 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in Avis Budget Group by 16.5% during the 1st quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 7,340,105 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $217,121,000 after acquiring an additional 1,037,148 shares during the period. Finally, Capital World Investors acquired a new stake in Avis Budget Group during the 2nd quarter worth about $17,780,000.

Avis Budget Group Company Profile

Avis Budget Group Inc is a provider of vehicle rental and car sharing services. The Company operates three brands, which include Avis, Budget and Zipcar. Avis and Budget are a rental car supplier. It also owns Payless, which a car rental brand; Apex, which is a car rental brand in New Zealand and Australia; Maggiore, a vehicle rental brand in Italy, and France Cars, which operates light commercial vehicle fleets in France.

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