Shares of Avis Budget Group, Inc. (CAR) achieved a new 52-week high of $40.72 on the last trading day of 2013 and eventually closed trade at $40.42. The average volume of shares traded over the last 3 months was approximately 1,600K. Notably, this vehicle rental company amassed a return of 94.6% in past one year.
Moreover, Avis Budget currently trades at a forward P/E of 18.6x, a 20.9% discount to the industry average of 23.5x. Additionally, the company’s long-term estimated earnings per share (EPS) growth rate is 13.9%, which is much above the industry average of 12.6%.
We believe that the recent momentum in the stock was mainly driven by a rebound in leisure and business travels owing to recovery in the U.S. economy and increased spending by individuals. Furthermore, while the company is growing due to an uptick in travel demand, the integration of its Avis Europe and Apex Car Rentals businesses is progressing well too.
Apart from recent positive industry trends, we believe that the company’s record of beating quarterly earnings expectations and sustained focus on increasing its global footprint make the stock an attractive option for investors.
With respect to earnings surprises, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company has posted positive surprises in 3 of the last 4 quarters with an average beat of 27.7%.
The company posted improved quarterly results for third-quarter 2013 with adjusted earnings per share of $1.48, which was up 1.4% from the year-ago quarter figure. Results primarily benefited from volume growth and strong pricing trends in North America, along with robust performance of the EMEA region. Moreover, Avis Budget registered a 10.4% year-over-year rise in net revenue.
Moreover, the company remains focused on expanding its operations through acquisitions and joint ventures. In an effort to increase its global footprint, Avis Budget is investing in potential markets with a growing car rental demand. The company’s intention to venture into new avenues was evident from its acquisition of Zipcar Inc., which enabled Avis Budget to widen its offerings from car rental to car sharing. We expect such strategies, along with a better customer support system to boost the company’s top line.
Apart from Avis Budget, companies such as Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. (HTZ), V. F. Corp. (VFC) and Tractor Supply Co. (TSCO) achieved new 52-Week highs of $28.90, $62.50 and $78.17, respectively, on Dec 31, 2013.