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Goldman Downgrades Autozone to 'In-Line'


Goldman Sachs downgraded Autozone (AZO) to in-line from outperform.

On Thursday the company posted $1.04 vs. 76 cents first quarter earnings per share. Analyst Matthew Fasler says despite good long-term value and Thursday's sharp stock decline, he sees few catalysts for outperformance over the next two quarters as Autozone cycles tougher same-store sales comparisons and works down its high inventory position. He expects the stock to trade in a range over the next several months, and would hope to get more aggressive as it approaches easier comparison sales and posts leaner inventories. Fasler raised his $4.50 fiscal 2003 (Aug.) earnings per share estimate to $4.75, and upped the fiscal 2004 estimate to $5.50.


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