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Why AutoZone (AZO) is a Top Value Stock for the Long-Term

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It doesn't matter your age or experience: taking full advantage of the stock market and investing with confidence are common goals for all investors. Luckily, Zacks Premium offers several different ways to do both.

Featuring daily updates of the Zacks Rank and Zacks Industry Rank, full access to the Zacks #1 Rank List, Equity Research reports, and Premium stock screens, the research service can help you become a smarter, more self-assured investor.

Zacks Premium also includes the Zacks Style Scores.

What are the Zacks Style Scores?

The Zacks Style Scores is a unique set of guidelines that rates stocks based on three popular investing types, and were developed as complementary indicators for the Zacks Rank. This combination helps investors choose securities with the highest chances of beating the market over the next 30 days.

Based on their value, growth, and momentum characteristics, each stock is assigned a rating of A, B, C, D, or F. The better the score, the better chance the stock will outperform; an A is better than a B, a B is better than a C, and so on.

The Style Scores are broken down into four categories:

Value Score

Value investors love finding good stocks at good prices, especially before the broader market catches on to a stock's true value. Utilizing ratios like P/E, PEG, Price/Sales, Price/Cash Flow, and many other multiples, the Value Style Score identifies the most attractive and most discounted stocks.

Growth Score

While good value is important, growth investors are more focused on a company's financial strength and health, and its future outlook. The Growth Style Score takes projected and historic earnings, sales, and cash flow into account to uncover stocks that will see long-term, sustainable growth.

Momentum Score

Momentum investors, who live by the saying "the trend is your friend," are most interested in taking advantage of upward or downward trends in a stock's price or earnings outlook. Utilizing one-week price change and the monthly percentage change in earnings estimates, among other factors, the Momentum Style Score can help determine favorable times to buy high-momentum stocks.

VGM Score

If you want a combination of all three Style Scores, then the VGM Score will be your friend. It rates each stock on their combined weighted styles, helping you find the companies with the most attractive value, best growth forecast, and most promising momentum. It's also one of the best indicators to use with the Zacks Rank.

How Style Scores Work with the Zacks Rank

The Zacks Rank is a proprietary stock-rating model that harnesses the power of earnings estimate revisions, or changes to a company's earnings expectations, to help investors build a successful portfolio.

Investors can count on the Zacks Rank's success, with #1 (Strong Buy) stocks producing an unmatched +25.41% average annual return since 1988, more than double the S&P 500's performance. But the model rates a large number of stocks, and there are over 200 companies with a Strong Buy rank, plus another 600 with a #2 (Buy) rank, on any given day.

With more than 800 top-rated stocks to choose from, it can certainly feel overwhelming to pick the ones that are right for you and your investing journey.

That's where the Style Scores come in.

To have the best chance of big returns, you'll want to always consider stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 or #2 that also have Style Scores of A or B, which will give you the highest probability of success. If you're looking at stocks with a #3 (Hold) rank, it's important they have Scores of A or B as well to ensure as much upside potential as possible.

Since the Scores were created to work together with the Zacks Rank, the direction of a stock's earnings estimate revisions should be a key factor when choosing which stocks to buy.

For instance, a stock with a #4 (Sell) or #5 (Strong Sell) rating, even one that boasts Scores of A and B, still has a downward-trending earnings forecast, and a much greater likelihood its share price will decline as well.

Thus, the more stocks you own with a #1 or #2 Rank and Scores of A or B, the better.

Stock to Watch: AutoZone (AZO - Free Report)

AutoZone, Inc. is one of the leading specialty retailers and distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories in the United States. It operates in the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) retail, Do-It-for-Me (DIFM) auto parts and products markets. At the end of fiscal 2022, the company had 6,168 stores in the United States, 703 in Mexico and 72 in Brazil. The total store count was 6,943 as of Aug 27, 2022. Each store offers wide-ranging products for cars, sport utility vehicles, vans and light trucks, including new and remanufactured automotive hard parts, maintenance items, accessories, and non-automotive products.

AZO is a #3 (Hold) on the Zacks Rank, with a VGM Score of B.

It also boasts a Value Style Score of B thanks to attractive valuation metrics like a forward P/E ratio of 17.33; value investors should take notice.

For fiscal 2023, two analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days, and the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.32 to $123.64 per share. AZO boasts an average earnings surprise of 16.6%.

With a solid Zacks Rank and top-tier Value and VGM Style Scores, AZO should be on investors' short list.


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