Advance Auto Parts Inc. (NYSE:AAP) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Advance Auto Parts' earnings and revenues for third-quarter fiscal 2016 surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The company remains focused on expanding the number of stores as well as reducing SG&A expenses to boost profits. Moreover, the increasing average age of vehicles is expected to further benefit the company.  However, Advance Auto Parts expects comparable store sales to decline in fiscal 2016. Rising new vehicle sales and price competition can adversely impact the company’s results. Further, its weakening financial position remains a concern. “

Several other research firms also recently commented on AAP. BTIG Research reissued a “sell” rating and issued a $120.00 price objective on shares of Advance Auto Parts in a research note on Wednesday, October 19th. RBC Capital Markets restated an “outperform” rating and issued a $174.00 target price (down from $180.00) on shares of Advance Auto Parts in a report on Thursday, September 8th. Jefferies Group reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $150.00 price target on shares of Advance Auto Parts in a report on Wednesday, October 19th. Credit Suisse Group AG reiterated an “outperform” rating and set a $171.00 price target on shares of Advance Auto Parts in a report on Sunday, October 23rd. Finally, Wedbush reiterated an “outperform” rating and set a $175.00 price target on shares of Advance Auto Parts in a report on Wednesday, October 5th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating, twelve have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $165.44.

Analyst Recommendations for Advance Auto Parts (NYSE:AAP)

Advance Auto Parts (NYSE:AAP) opened at 164.33 on Wednesday. Advance Auto Parts has a 12-month low of $131.59 and a 12-month high of $172.87. The stock has a market capitalization of $12.09 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.54 and a beta of 1.04. The company has a 50 day moving average of $144.17 and a 200-day moving average of $153.92.

Advance Auto Parts (NYSE:AAP) last released its quarterly earnings data on Monday, November 14th. The company reported $1.73 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.71 by $0.02. Advance Auto Parts had a return on equity of 20.89% and a net margin of 4.75%. The business had revenue of $2.25 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.20 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.95 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 2.0% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Advance Auto Parts will post $7.25 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, January 6th. Investors of record on Friday, December 23rd will be paid a $0.06 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, December 21st. This represents a $0.24 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.15%. Advance Auto Parts’s payout ratio is currently 3.94%.

In other news, Director John Francis Ferraro purchased 500 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, August 22nd. The stock was purchased at an average price of $160.28 per share, with a total value of $80,140.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 2,941 shares in the company, valued at $471,383.48. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, EVP Robert B. Cushing purchased 1,500 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 30th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $156.66 per share, with a total value of $234,990.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 6,362 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $996,670.92. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. 4.50% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of AAP. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Advance Auto Parts by 2.2% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 6,257,544 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,011,407,000 after buying an additional 133,221 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. increased its stake in shares of Advance Auto Parts by 1.4% in the third quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 1,883,558 shares of the company’s stock valued at $280,876,000 after buying an additional 26,132 shares during the last quarter. American Century Companies Inc. increased its stake in shares of Advance Auto Parts by 14.7% in the second quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 1,533,567 shares of the company’s stock valued at $247,870,000 after buying an additional 196,674 shares during the last quarter. Scharf Investments LLC increased its stake in shares of Advance Auto Parts by 6.0% in the second quarter. Scharf Investments LLC now owns 1,353,914 shares of the company’s stock valued at $218,833,000 after buying an additional 77,109 shares during the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Fund Advisors increased its stake in shares of Advance Auto Parts by 2.8% in the third quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 1,168,615 shares of the company’s stock valued at $174,264,000 after buying an additional 31,497 shares during the last quarter. 99.42% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Advance Auto Parts Company Profile

Advance Auto Parts, Inc provides automotive aftermarket parts in North America, serving do-it-for-me (commercial) and do-it-yourself (DIY), customers, as well as independently owned operators. The Company’s stores and branches offer a selection of brand name, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and private label automotive replacement parts, accessories, batteries and maintenance items for domestic and imported cars, vans, sport utility vehicles and light and heavy duty trucks.

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