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On Jan 2, 2014, we upgraded our recommendation on The Hain Celestial Group Inc. (HAIN - Analyst Report), a leader in natural food and personal care products categories, to Outperform with a target price of $100. The stock currently holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

A solid return of roughly 59% in the past one year, strong operating performance and rising Zacks Consensus Estimates are the major catalysts behind our bullish attitude toward Hain Celestial.

Hain Celestial’s strategic investments plus continued efforts to contain costs, increase productivity, and enhance cash flows and margins, have enabled it to deliver healthy results. The company, which competes with General Mills Inc. (GIS - Analyst Report), expects to sustain strong momentum as it remains well positioned to capitalize on the growing global demand for organic products through acquisitions, which has been a key strategy in building market share.

If we look at the company’s earnings surprise history over the last 13 quarters, Hain Celestial has topped estimates by an average of 4.1%. In the last concluded quarter, the company posted earnings of 52 cents a share that came a penny ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate and surged 26.8% year over year. Management cited that strong top-line growth of 32.7%, integration of acquired businesses and focus on high margin carrying brands facilitated bottom-line growth.

Management anticipates sales in the range of $2,025 million to $2,050 million in fiscal 2014, reflecting a year-over-year increase of 17%. Earnings are projected in the range of $2.95 to $3.05 per share, up 16% to 20% year-over-year.

The Zacks Consensus for fiscal 2014 increased 0.3% to $3.03, while for fiscal 2015 it rose 1.2% to $3.49 per share in the last 60 days.

Other Stocks That Warrant a Look

Other better ranked stocks worth considering include, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR - Analyst Report) and Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Inc. both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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