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December 2, 2013

This is Mark Vickery covering for Sheraz Mian, who will be away on business until the second week of December.

…And the Retail onslaught continues. I'm right now watching a TV commercial about "Cyber Monday" from… Joseph A. Bank . They want foot-traffic in their stores today. Did I mention it was Cyber Monday?

So the big players regarding e-commerce buying today are, of course, Amazon (AMZN - Analyst Report) -- of the Jeff Bezos "delivery by Drone" business plan -- and to a lesser extent eBay (EBAY - Analyst Report). But don't forget jeweler Blue Nile (NILE - Snapshot Report), holiday-pics-for-Grandma Shutterfly (SFLY - Analyst Report) or Overstock.com (OSTK - Snapshot Report). In fact, Overstock has impressed at least some analysts with its mobile app to buy products. Overstock.com has been considered by Zacks analysts a dubiously successful retailer for years now. But isn't an impressive mobile app crucial for today's "showroom" shoppers?

From what I've seen this morning, the expectations for sales for today's Cyber Monday are between $1.9 billion and $2.3 billion. That's a lot of online shopping. Hence the pseudo-holiday, somewhat comparable to that of Black Friday. But ultimately, what's the difference? Sales ON THANKSGIVING -- and ONLINE, not in-store -- topped $1 billion for the first time ever. This not only cuts into last Friday's hyped-up Black Friday but also today's equally hyped-up Cyber Monday.

So who's ready? Toys and gadgets are the biggest sellers on days like today, but apparel, video games, and the other usual suspects are big movers, as well. If you think it's a crap-shoot which companies are ready to make big gains tand benefit stock-holders this holiday season, then you're not familiar enough with the Zacks Industry Rank.

That said, the top Retail industries among Zacks' designation are Convenience Stores and Wholesale - Auto Parts. So while it's important to have some retail exposure at this time of year to find big near-term gains, it's even more important not to take your eye off the ball: there are plenty of industries with stocks ready to break out with gains, from Insurance to Airlines to Hotels & Leisure.

So happy pseudo-holiday, investors! May your remainder of 2013 allow you to buy ridiculously expensive gifts for your loved ones!

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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