AutoZone Inc Stock Buy Recommendation Reiterated (AZO)

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- AutoZone (NYSE: AZO) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of B- . The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, revenue growth, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and increase in stock price during the past year. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • AUTOZONE INC has improved earnings per share by 15.2% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, AUTOZONE INC increased its bottom line by earning $23.57 versus $19.58 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($27.64 versus $23.57).
  • AZO's revenue growth trails the industry average of 26.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for AUTOZONE INC is rather high; currently it is at 54.70%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 9.50% is above that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 61.94% to $192.59 million when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 46.05%.
  • The stock price has risen over the past year, but, despite its earnings growth and some other positive factors, it has underperformed the S&P 500 so far. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.

AutoZone, Inc. engages in retailing and distributing automotive replacement parts and accessories. AutoZone has a market cap of $14.32 billion and is part of the services sector and retail industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 16, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 11.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

You can view the full AutoZone Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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