There are two major advantages of owning AutoZone (AZO) - Get Report shares throughout this Brexit storm: solid fundamentals and little to no exposure to the European Union, according to analysts with BTIG.
BTIG now says AutoZone, the Memphis-based auto parts giant, is its "single favorite name" in light of last week's Brexit referendum, in which the U.K. voted to divorce itself from the European Union. That's especially because 92% of AutoZone's outlets operate in the U.S., with the remainder in Mexico and Brazil.
AutoZone also has managed to rake in a roughly 31% return on capital over the past year, BTIG analysts Alan Rifkin and Marvin Fong said in a Friday report, making the retailer a more attractive investment than peers O'Reilly Automotive (ORLY) - Get Report and Advance Auto Parts (AAP) - Get Report . BTIG also highlighted that AutoZone has managed to significantly insulate itself from encroaching e-commerce giants like Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report .
Last month, Real Money's Jim Cramer contended that billionaire investor Mario Gabelli's bullish view on AutoNation (AN) - Get Report should have been redirected to AutoZone, noting in an interview that AutoZone has sounder fundamentals. (So far on the year, AutoZone shares have ticked up 3% vs. a 22% skid in AutoNation shares.)
"AutoZone is the most defensive name in the after-market auto parts sector," analysts Rifkin and Fong said, pointing to a swift rebound from the 2008 financial crisis. Same-store sales for the retailer clocked up 0.4% in its fiscal 2008 as the crisis mounted, then rebounded to 4.4% by the end of fiscal 2009. (AutoZone's fiscal year ends on Aug. 29.)
"AZO also delivered solid EPS growth," Rifkin and Fong added, highlighting 15% earnings-per-share growth in fiscal 2008 and 17% growth in fiscal 2009. And since the Brexit referendum passed Thursday, the broader S&P 500 has fallen about 5%, while AutoZone shares have climbed 1% as investors look for companies that are best at absorbing macroeconomic shocks.
AutoZone may be the most resilient consumer stock in the market, according to BTIG, which maintains a $900 price target on the stock. The analysts also noted that their bullish recommendation is only a near-term suggestion until market conditions settle.
This article was first published on Real Money at 12:47 p.m. June 27.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.