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Why AutoZone Surged over 7% after Its Q1 Earnings Report

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AutoZone’s Q1 earnings

America’s top auto parts retailer (XLY) by store count, AutoZone (AZO), has released its results for the first quarter of fiscal 2019 (the 12 weeks ended November 17, 2018). The company’s first-quarter adjusted earnings jumped 34.7% YoY (year-over-year) to $13.47 per share—better than analysts’ estimates of $12.21 per share. After the earnings release, the stock rallied. At 10:55 AM EST, AZO was up 7.3%. At the same time, O’Reilly Automotive (ORLY), Advance Auto Parts (AAP), and General Motors (GM) were trading up 1.7%, up 1.2%, and down 2.3%, respectively from their closing prices yesterday.

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What added to the optimism

In the first quarter, AutoZone’s net sales rose 2.0% YoY to $2.64 billion while its same-store sales rose 2.7%. The company also reported a solid gross margin of 53.7%, better than its 52.8% in the first quarter of fiscal 2018. AutoZone’s first-quarter operating profit rose handsomely by 4.1% YoY with a solid margin of 18.5%, compared to 18.1% a year ago.

At the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2019, AutoZone had US 5,631 stores after adding 13 new stores during the quarter. Plus, the company opened three new stores in Mexico.

AutoZone’s CEO, William C. Rhodes, suggested that the auto parts “industry fundamentals remain strong,” which boosted investors’ confidence and helped drive the stock higher.

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