Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of AutoZone Inc. (NYSE:AZO) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “AutoZone is focused on increasing sales through store expansion and boosting earnings via aggressive share repurchases. Moreover, the rising average age of cars on U.S. roads is leading to higher demand for auto parts. AutoZone expects its capital and operating expenses to rise over the next three years due to its plans to open new distribution centers. The company is also increasing the frequency of deliveries to its stores. While AutoZone expects this strategy to be advantageous in the long term, its implementation is leading to gross margin headwinds due to higher supply chain costs. AutoZone’s estimates have been stable over the past 30 days. The company has a mostly positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters.”

AZO has been the subject of several other research reports. Morgan Stanley set a $820.00 price objective on shares of AutoZone and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, August 11th. Citigroup Inc. reaffirmed a buy rating on shares of AutoZone in a research note on Thursday, August 25th. Susquehanna started coverage on shares of AutoZone in a research note on Thursday, August 25th. They set a neutral rating and a $810.00 price objective for the company. Credit Suisse Group AG set a $870.00 price objective on shares of AutoZone and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Saturday, September 17th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. set a $841.00 price objective on shares of AutoZone and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Monday, September 19th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating, ten have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. AutoZone has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $855.63.

Analyst Recommendations for AutoZone (NYSE:AZO)

Shares of AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) opened at 790.24 on Tuesday. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $754.03 and its 200 day moving average is $767.59. AutoZone has a 1-year low of $681.01 and a 1-year high of $819.54. The company has a market cap of $22.81 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.42 and a beta of 0.61.

AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, September 22nd. The company reported $14.30 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $14.25 by $0.05. AutoZone had a net margin of 11.67% and a negative return on equity of 69.23%. The firm earned $3.40 billion during the quarter. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $12.75 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.3% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts predict that AutoZone will post $45.44 earnings per share for the current year.

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Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of AZO. Alpha Windward LLC increased its stake in shares of AutoZone by 0.8% in the third quarter. Alpha Windward LLC now owns 242 shares of the company’s stock valued at $186,000 after buying an additional 2 shares during the last quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. increased its stake in shares of AutoZone by 0.4% in the second quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. now owns 1,418 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,124,000 after buying an additional 5 shares during the last quarter. Lakeview Capital Partners LLC increased its stake in shares of AutoZone by 1.0% in the second quarter. Lakeview Capital Partners LLC now owns 483 shares of the company’s stock valued at $383,000 after buying an additional 5 shares during the last quarter. Cleararc Capital Inc. increased its stake in shares of AutoZone by 0.8% in the second quarter. Cleararc Capital Inc. now owns 743 shares of the company’s stock valued at $590,000 after buying an additional 6 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Advisor Partners LLC increased its stake in shares of AutoZone by 1.0% in the second quarter. Advisor Partners LLC now owns 723 shares of the company’s stock valued at $574,000 after buying an additional 7 shares during the last quarter. 94.06% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

AutoZone Company Profile

AutoZone, Inc is a retailer and distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories in the United States. The Company’s operating segments include Auto Parts Locations and Other. The Auto Parts Locations segment comprises Domestic Auto Parts, Mexico, Brazil and Interamerican Motor Corporation (IMC).

5 Day Chart for NYSE:AZO

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