When markets enter crisis zone and are getting blown to pieces as they are now, one would be surprised by the stocks that shock everyone by going up in value on some insane thesis. Case in point today: auto parts retailers.
Shares of Advance Auto Parts (+3.4%), O’Reilly Automotive (+3%) and AutoZone (+5.4%) each notched a very solid session on Monday considering the Dow Jones Industrial Average was briefly down by an astounding 2,100 points in the afternoon. These auto parts retailers were three of only 10 equities in the S&P 500 that were trading in the green, according to Bloomberg data.
All three stocks have outpeformed the broader S&P 500 since the index hit a record high on Feb. 19, per Yahoo Finance data.
The only thing driving the auto parts retailers higher Monday is the logic that the coronavirus will stop people from shopping for new cars. Instead, they keep their old jalopies longer and have their mechanics buy new parts from the auto parts retailers. Respectable thesis, but perhaps a bit overblown as coronavirus stands to wreak even more havoc on the parts space in the weeks ahead.
“While we still project ~2% industry growth in '20, we note that COVID-19 could weigh on near-term demand if a larger-scale outbreak in the U.S. materially impacts vehicle utilization (miles driven),” cautions auto parts retailer analyst Bret Jordan of Jefferies. Moreover, Jordan notes some 30% of aftermarket parts are sourced from China — which is still pretty much a ghost town from a manufacturing perspective.
Jordan adds, “We note that while suppliers tell us many Chinese manufacturing facilities are back online at reduced volumes and most retailers entered the outbreak with high inventories in anticipation of new year's shutdown, if the impact from the outbreak materially impacts production, supply constraints could impact in-stocks by mid-year.”