2017 hasn’t been too kind to Autozone owners.
The stock has slumped about 9% to $719 per share as traders begin to price in a double whammy from President Trump and Amazon.
The stock started to lose favour among investors as Trump began to increase his rhetoric surrounding trade with Mexico.
The Trump administration has floated the possibility of levying a 20% border tax on imports from Mexico, something that would be particularly worrying for the auto industry, which imports nearly $80 billion worth of cars and parts from Mexico each year.
But that’s not all that investors are worried about. On January 23, Amazon announced it is entering the auto parts space. The decision is a severe blow to brick and mortar retailers in the space as not only will Amazon provide pricing competition, but will also provide same-day delivery.
And short sellers have begun taking note. Short interest in Autozone has exploded by 17%, or $298 million, over the past week to a record high $2.08 billion, according to data provided by S3 partners. According to the research firm, “short interest has averaged $1.88 billion in 2017 and short sellers have recouped their 2016 losses with $157.8 million in net of financing mark to market profits so far this year for a net return of 8.37%.”
That’s far better than the short sellers’ performance in the stock during 2016. They lost $126.0 million, or -6.59%, betting against the stock.