Calling the EPS miss ($0.26 is light by $0.03) high-quality, analyst James Albertine maintains a Buy rating and $39 price target. The culprit, he says, was higher than expected operating expenses, but gross margin exceeded his estimate of 40.7% by 70 basis points.
FY2014 EPS guidance of $1.30-$1.40 compares to his team's $1.38. Organic parts and services growth of 8-10% compares to a 7.5% estimate. The company also expects to generate $375M in operating cash flow vs. $428M in 2013, and incur $110M-$140M in capex vs. $88M in 2013.
The harsh winter weather appears to have created a pickup in demand at auto parts retailers and service centers.
Sector movers: Pep Boys (PEP) +4.2%, AutoZone (AZO) +5.2%, U.S. Auto Parts (PRTS) +1.2%, LKQ Corporation (LKQ) +3.2%, Genuine Parts (GPC) +3.0%, Monro Muffler (MNRO) +2.7%, Lithia Motors (LAD) +3.8%, Sonic Automotive (SAH) +2.0%.
Genuine Parts (GPC -2.2%) slips this morning, despite a solid Q2 earnings beat. Investors are reacting to the company's cut to its FY revenue growth forecast. It now sees FY EPS of $4.50 - $4.60, with bias to mid-lower end. Street consensus is still in range however, albeit towards the bottom-end at $4.51. The company cites an uneven econonmy and weakness in its nonautomotive business units for the lower guidance.
Shares of Genuine Parts (GPC -3.4%) trade lower after the company misses estimates with its Q3 report but issues some favorable comments over its business in Q4. The company says more buybacks and dividend increases could be part of its plans.