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The shares of Tractor Supply Company (TSCO - Analyst Report) reached a new 52-week high of $124.45 on Monday, Jul 15. This farm and ranch store chain retailer eventually closed at $122.57 and generated a year-to-date return of nearly 34.0%. The company currently trades at a forward P/E of 27.6x, a 36.6% premium to the peer group average of 20.21x.

A track record of posting robust quarterly earnings, solid financial position, consistent focus on maximizing productivity and initiatives to expand its brand portfolio were the major factors that led to the strong price appreciation of Tractor Supply’s shares.  The average volume of shares traded over the last 3 months is approximately 527K.

Tractor Supply’s earnings surprise history shows this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock to have outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in 19 out of the past 20 quarters, the only exception being the last quarter in which the company posted in line earnings. The average surprise for the past 20 quarters is 14.0%.

Tractor Supply posted strong first-quarter 2013 results on the back of robust top-line performance and improved margins. It declared results on Apr 24, 2013, wherein earnings of 62 cents per share surged nearly 12.7% year over year and were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Tractor Supply’s total sales grew 6.4% to $1,085.8 million in the quarter from $1,020.4 million in the year-ago period, but missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,098 million. Additionally, comparable-store sales (comps) for the quarter climbed 0.5%.

Tractor Supply reiterated its 2013 net sales guidance, projecting sales in the range of $5.07–$5.17 billion, with an expected comps improvement of 3%−5%. The company anticipates 2013 earnings per share in the range of $4.32−$4.40, including an estimated cost of 6–7 cents per share related to the relocation of both its distribution center (in the Southeast) as well as corporate data center.

Apart from Tractor Supply, companies such as Genpact Limited (G - Snapshot Report), General Motors Company (GM - Analyst Report) and Lowe’s Companies Inc. (LOW - Analyst Report) achieved new 52-week highs of $21.30, $36.72 and $44.42, respectively, on Jul 15, 2013.

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