2-Star Stocks Poised to Plunge: AutoZone?

Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, auto parts retailer AutoZone (NYS: AZO) has received an alarming two-star ranking.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at AutoZone's business and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.


Headquarters (Founded)Memphis, Tenn. (1979)
Market Cap$12.8 billion
IndustryAutomotive retail
Trailing-12-Month Revenue$8.21 billion
ManagementChairman/CEO William Rhodes III
CFO William Giles
Return on Capital (Average, Past 3 Years)39.2%
Cash/Debt$96.7 million / $3.35 billion
CompetitorsAdvance Auto Parts (NYS: AAP)
O'Reilly Automotive (NAS: ORLY)
Pep Boys (NYS: PBY)

Sources: S&P Capital IQ and Motley Fool CAPS.

On CAPS, 30% of the 538 members who have rated AutoZone believe the stock will underperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bears include All-Star joryko, who is ranked in the top 5% of our community, and baselineace.

Earlier this month, joryko touched on AutoZone's seemingly unsustainable price run:

A ticking time bomb. Financials say it all. Never buy back stock with debt, especially at these high of prices. It has to make a move downward once its momentum slows.

In fact, AutoZone sports a worrisome total debt-to-capital ratio of 167%. That's much higher than that of rivals Advance Auto (44%), O'Reilly (22%), and Pep Boys (38%).

CAPS member baselineace elaborates on the bear case:

AutoZone is a bear market stock that benefits from consumers fixing up their old cars instead of buying new ones. With auto sales picking up and the economy restarting after the 2011 "soft patch", consumers are beginning to spring for that new car purchase they've been putting off. AutoZone's glory days are numbered.

What do you think about AutoZone, or any other stock for that matter? If you want to retire rich, you need to protect your portfolio from any undue risk. Staying away from dangerous stocks is crucial to securing your financial future, and on Motley Fool CAPS, thousands of investors are working every day to flag them. CAPS is 100% free, so get started!

Want to see how well (or not so well) the stocks in this series are performing? Follow the newTrackPoisedToCAPS account.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool's disclosure policy always gets a perfect score.

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