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Bull of the Day

HanesBrands (HBI - Analyst Report) continues to be on a roll. The apparel maker recently beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the 8th quarter in a row. This Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) also raised 2014 guidance.

HanesBrands is known for its underwear. But in addition to underwear, it sells bras, panties, shapewear, socks, hosiery, T-shirts and activewear under the brands of Hanes, Champion, Playtex, Bali, Maidenform, Flexees, Just My Size, barely there, Wonderbra and Gear for Sports.

HanesBrands is a global company, with employees in 25 countries.

Big Beat in Q4

On Jan 29, HanesBrands reported fourth quarter sales and kept its earnings surprise winning streak intact by beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 8.9%. Earnings were $0.98 compared the Zacks Consensus of $0.90.

Sales jumped 12% to $1.3 billion but were boosted by the acquisition of Maidenform Brands, which contributed 9% of the sales growth in the quarter. The Maidenform acquisition closed on Oct 7, 2013 and integration of front-end, supply chain and logistics operations is still ongoing.

Operating margin rose 320 basis points to 12.9% due to lower cotton costs and benefits of the Innovate-to-Elevate initiatives.

Raised Full Year Guidance

HanesBrands surprised the Street by raising its previous guidance to a range of $4.60 to $4.80 from previous guidance of $4.25 to $4.50.

The analysts were already at the high end of the previous range as the Zacks Consensus Estimate had been calling for $4.47. But after the earnings report, the analysts raised estimates again which pushed up the Zacks Consensus to $4.71.

That's earnings growth of 20.5%.

Dividend Increased 50%

HanesBrands also demonstrated the belief in its business model by raising its dividend by 50% to $0.30 a quarter. It first offered a dividend only a year ago, in April 2013. For the prior four quarters it had paid out at $0.20.

The new dividend will be paid March 11, 2014 to stockholders of record at the close of business Feb 18, 2014.

"Hanes is generating significant value for shareholders through earnings growth, a strong balance sheet and significant cash flow," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard A. Noll.

"We are in a great position to increase the amount of cash we can return to stockholders, while retaining ample flexibility to pursue other growth opportunities, including acquisitions," he added.

Shares at Multi-Year High

Shareholders of HanesBrands have been amply rewarded over the last 2 years.

But even though shares are at multi-year highs, valuations aren't stretched. HanesBrands has a forward P/E of just 14.5 which is below the average of the S&P 500 of 14.8.

If you're looking for a company that is bullish on 2014 and is expected to grow earnings by the double digits, then HanesBrands should be on your short list.

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Tracey Ryniec is the Value Stock Strategist for Zacks.com. She is also the Editor of the Insider Trader and Value Investor services. You can follow her on twitter at @TraceyRyniec.

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