Advance Auto Parts Inc. (NYSE:AAP)’s share price gapped up prior to trading on Wednesday after Zacks Investment Research upgraded the stock from a sell rating to a hold rating. The stock had previously closed at $164.66, but opened at $164.33. Advance Auto Parts shares last traded at $161.75, with a volume of 1,028,030 shares trading hands.

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 equities research analysts have also recently weighed in on the stock. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $150.00 price objective on shares of Advance Auto Parts in a research report on Wednesday, October 19th. Wedbush reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $175.00 price objective on shares of Advance Auto Parts in a research report on Wednesday, October 5th. Susquehanna started coverage on shares of Advance Auto Parts in a research report on Thursday, August 25th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $158.00 price objective for the company. Credit Suisse Group AG reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $171.00 price objective on shares of Advance Auto Parts in a research report on Sunday, October 23rd. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada cut their price objective on shares of Advance Auto Parts from $180.00 to $174.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, September 8th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating, twelve have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $166.25.

In other news, EVP Robert B. Cushing bought 1,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 30th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $156.66 per share, for a total transaction of $234,990.00. Following the acquisition, the executive vice president now directly owns 6,362 shares in the company, valued at $996,670.92. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CEO Thomas Greco bought 6,250 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 23rd. The stock was purchased at an average price of $159.56 per share, for a total transaction of $997,250.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the chief executive officer now owns 42,154 shares in the company, valued at $6,726,092.24. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. 4.50% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position 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 worth $1,011,407,000 after buying an additional 133,221 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. boosted its position 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 worth $280,876,000 after buying an additional 26,132 shares in the last quarter. American Century Companies Inc. boosted its position 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 worth $247,870,000 after buying an additional 196,674 shares in the last quarter. Scharf Investments LLC boosted its position 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 worth $218,833,000 after buying an additional 77,109 shares in the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Fund Advisors boosted its position 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 worth $174,264,000 after buying an additional 31,497 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 99.42% of the company’s stock.

The stock has a market cap of $11.99 billion, a P/E ratio of 26.32 and a beta of 1.04. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $144.72 and a 200 day moving average price of $153.88.

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

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

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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