Traders Buy AutoZone (AZO) on Weakness

Traders bought shares of AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE:AZO) on weakness during trading hours on Friday. $176.61 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $99.13 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $77.48 million into the stock. Of all equities tracked, AutoZone had the 20th highest net in-flow for the day. AutoZone traded down ($16.76) for the day and closed at $809.07

A number of equities analysts have recently commented on AZO shares. Bank of America lowered AutoZone from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $830.00 price target for the company. in a report on Monday, September 17th. Citigroup raised their price target on AutoZone from $765.00 to $850.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, September 19th. Royal Bank of Canada cut their price target on AutoZone from $779.00 to $775.00 and set a “sector perform” rating for the company in a report on Wednesday, September 19th. Wells Fargo & Co lifted their price objective on AutoZone from $800.00 to $850.00 and gave the company a “positive” rating in a research note on Thursday, September 13th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Credit Suisse Group lifted their price objective on AutoZone from $790.00 to $810.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 5th. Eight equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eleven have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $807.07.

The company has a market cap of $20.68 billion, a PE ratio of 16.07, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.14 and a beta of 0.89.

AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, September 18th. The company reported $18.54 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $17.92 by $0.62. AutoZone had a negative return on equity of 99.70% and a net margin of 11.92%. The business had revenue of $3.56 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.60 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $15.27 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.3% on a year-over-year basis. Research analysts anticipate that AutoZone, Inc. will post 57.97 EPS for the current year.

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

In other AutoZone news, insider William W. Graves sold 18,900 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $776.37, for a total transaction of $14,673,393.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 3,450 shares in the company, valued at $2,678,476.50. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, VP Charles Pleas III sold 9,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $759.85, for a total value of $7,218,575.00. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 13,862 shares in the company, valued at approximately $10,533,040.70. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 60,487 shares of company stock worth $46,667,608 in the last 90 days. Company insiders own 2.80% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Massey Quick Simon & CO. LLC increased its holdings in shares of AutoZone by 222.4% in the third quarter. Massey Quick Simon & CO. LLC now owns 187 shares of the company’s stock worth $145,000 after buying an additional 129 shares during the period. ELM Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of AutoZone in the third quarter worth about $163,000. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. increased its holdings in shares of AutoZone by 197.5% in the second quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 235 shares of the company’s stock worth $158,000 after buying an additional 156 shares during the period. Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of AutoZone in the second quarter worth about $173,000. Finally, First Republic Investment Management Inc. purchased a new position in shares of AutoZone in the third quarter worth about $216,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 95.53% of the company’s stock.

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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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