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Shares of V.F. Corporation (VFC - Analyst Report) touched a new 52-week high of $217.69 on Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 and eventually closed trade at $216.00. The stock has gained momentum since the company announced robust third-quarter 2013 results and a hike in the quarterly dividend. This global apparel retailer has amassed a year-to-date return of 45.8%.

Average volume of shares traded over the last 3 months was approximately 536.9K. Moreover, the company currently trades at a forward P/E of 19.7x, a 5.3% premium to the peer group average of 20.8x. The last traded price is 4.5% below the Zacks Consensus average analyst price target of $226.23. Additionally, the company’s long-term estimated EPS growth rate is 12.1%.

Investors became more optimistic on this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock after the company reported quarterly earnings per share of $3.91, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3.7% and rising 11.1% from the year-ago quarter.

V.F. Corp.'s total revenue of $3,266.7 million grew 4.7% from $3,119.6 million in the year-ago period, on the back of robust growth in Outdoor & Action Sports, Jeanswear and International as well as Direct-to-Consumer revenues.

Further, boosting the stock was the company’s announcement of 21% hike in quarterly dividend. The company will pay a dividend of $1.05 per share on a pre-split basis (recently, the company approved a four-for-one stock split) to be payable on Dec 20, 2013 to shareholders of record date as of Dec 10, 2013.

V.F.Corp’s history of positive earnings surprises also make investors optimistic about the stock. We observe that the company has beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the past 4 quarters by an average of 6.4%.

Going forward, we believe that with its operational efficiencies, a formidable brand portfolio and constant product innovation, V.F.Corp is well positioned to generate healthy sales. The company’s exclusive assortments remain popular among consumers and impart it a competitive edge.

Apart from V.F. Corp., other retail stocks such as Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM - Analyst Report), Colgate-Palmolive Co. (CL - Analyst Report) and Constellation Brands Inc. (STZ - Analyst Report) achieved new 52-week highs of $41.74, $66.00 and $65.67, respectively, on Oct 29, 2013.

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