Equities research analysts predict that AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE:AZO) will report $9.87 earnings per share (EPS) for the current fiscal quarter, according to Zacks. Eight analysts have issued estimates for AutoZone’s earnings. The lowest EPS estimate is $9.27 and the highest is $10.51. AutoZone reported earnings of $10.38 per share during the same quarter last year, which would suggest a negative year-over-year growth rate of 4.9%. The firm is scheduled to announce its next earnings results on Tuesday, February 26th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that AutoZone will report full-year earnings of $59.05 per share for the current fiscal year, with EPS estimates ranging from $56.02 to $61.37. For the next financial year, analysts expect that the firm will report earnings of $63.17 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $60.15 to $65.52. Zacks’ earnings per share calculations are an average based on a survey of sell-side analysts that follow AutoZone.

AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, December 4th. The company reported $13.47 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $12.21 by $1.26. AutoZone had a net margin of 12.49% and a negative return on equity of 102.31%. The firm had revenue of $2.64 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.64 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $10.00 EPS. AutoZone’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.0% on a year-over-year basis.

Several analysts recently commented on the stock. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of AutoZone from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $860.00 price target for the company in a research report on Tuesday, August 28th. Barclays reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $950.00 price target on shares of AutoZone in a research report on Wednesday. Royal Bank of Canada reduced their price target on shares of AutoZone from $779.00 to $775.00 and set a “sector perform” rating for the company in a research report on Wednesday, September 19th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upped their price target on shares of AutoZone to $880.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 19th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group upped their price target on shares of AutoZone from $790.00 to $810.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 5th. Six research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, ten have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $866.74.

AZO stock traded up $1.48 on Friday, hitting $870.16. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 394,567 shares, compared to its average volume of 363,585. AutoZone has a 1 year low of $590.76 and a 1 year high of $894.37. The company has a market cap of $22.20 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.29, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.22 and a beta of 0.89.

AutoZone declared that its board has authorized a share buyback program on Wednesday, September 26th that authorizes the company to buyback $1.25 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to purchase up to 6.1% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, insider William R. Hackney sold 5,700 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, December 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $870.00, for a total transaction of $4,959,000.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 3,998 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,478,260. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Chairman William C. Rhodes III sold 23,700 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $780.06, for a total transaction of $18,487,422.00. Following the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 37,918 shares in the company, valued at $29,578,315.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 79,687 shares of company stock worth $63,373,093. Corporate insiders own 2.80% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Massey Quick Simon & CO. LLC grew its stake in shares of AutoZone by 222.4% during the 3rd quarter. Massey Quick Simon & CO. LLC now owns 187 shares of the company’s stock worth $145,000 after purchasing an additional 129 shares during the period. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. grew its stake in AutoZone by 197.5% in the 2nd quarter. Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P. now owns 235 shares of the company’s stock valued at $158,000 after acquiring an additional 156 shares during the last quarter. ELM Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in AutoZone in the 3rd quarter valued at about $163,000. Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in AutoZone in the 2nd quarter valued at about $173,000. Finally, Paragon Capital Management Ltd acquired a new stake in AutoZone in the 2nd quarter valued at about $201,000. 92.10% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About AutoZone

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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