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Shares of PVH Corp. (PVH - Analyst Report) – world’s largest shirt and neckwear company – hit a new 52-week high of $125.44 on Tuesday, Mar 5, before closing at $125.07. This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company beat its previous 52-week high of $124.53, and has generated a whopping return of approximately 12.7% since Dec 31, 2012. Average volume of shares traded over the last 3 months came in at approximately 1,195K.

Drivers that Triggered Momentum

An impressive positive earnings surprise history, upbeat fiscal 2012 guidance and accretive acquisition facilitated the shares of PVH Corp. to gather momentum and achieve a new high.

PVH Corp. has surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in 16 back-to-back quarters with an average surprise of 11.4%. The company’s last reported quarter, i.e. third quarter of fiscal 2012, outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2.2%. The company’s adjusted earnings of $2.34 per share jumped approximately 24% year over year, primarily driven by improved margins and lower tax rate. Total revenue of $1.643 billion also came ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.638 billion.

The continued growth momentum across the company’s brands, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, prompted management to raise fiscal 2012 earnings guidance range to $6.37–$6.38 per share, up from previous range of $6.32–$6.37. The current Zacks Consensus Estimate for the fiscal is pegged at $6.39 per share, which is a penny above the company’s upper-end of the guidance range. Moreover, PVH Corp. expects net sales to increase 2% from fiscal 2011 level.

Further, we believe that the acquisition of The Warnaco Group, Inc. will facilitate the company to have operations at every major consumer market in the world, which will ultimately boost its top line. It is expected that the acquisition will increase the company’s 2013 earnings by 35 cents per share.

Stock’s Key Indicators

PVH Corp. currently trades at a forward P/E of 16.63x, reflecting a 16.1% premium to the peer group average of 14.33x. Its price-to-sales ratio of 1.54 is also slightly above the peer group average of 1.53. Given the company’s compelling fundamentals, the premium valuation is justified and well supported by its long-term estimated EPS growth rate of 14.5% compared with 12.7% for the peer group.

Other Stocks to Consider

Apart from PVH Corp., other stocks in the apparel industry that are portraying strong upward trend in the bourses are Michael Kors Holdings Limited (KORS - Analyst Report), Ralph Lauren Corporation (RL - Analyst Report) and Hanesbrands Inc. (HBI - Analyst Report). Michael Kors', Ralph Lauren’s and Hanesbrands’ share prices rose approximately 18.6%, 18.1% and 11.2%, respectively, since Dec 31, 2012. Michael Kors has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while Ralph Lauren and Hanesbrands hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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