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Wall Street Heads for Best August in 36 Years: 5 Top Gainers

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On Aug 28, Wall Street ended the week and day higher, positioned to notch the market’s best August performance since the 1980s. So far this month, major bourses have reached or approached record highs.

The S&P 500 index is up 7.2% month to date, and if the gains hold until trading finishes on Aug 31, the broader-market index would register its biggest gain since 1984, according to the Dow Jones Market Data. In fact, the S&P 500 ended the last trading session at a record high and grew 3.3% for the week.

Similarly, the Dow closed in the positive for the year on Aug 28, completely erasing its coronavirus-induced losses. The Dow closed the session with a year-to-date gain of 0.4% and is just 3% shy of its Feb 12 record closing high. For the month so far, the blue-chip index has rallied more than 8% and is also headed for its best August in 36 years.

Notably, the August rally is built on the stock market’s sharp rebound from the Mar 23 lows. Since then, the Dow and the S&P 500 have jumped 57% and 60.1%, respectively. Separately, the tech-heavy Nasdaq is up 8.8% so far this month and is on track for its best August since 2000. The index had notched a fresh record on Aug 28.

Talking about tech stocks, Apple Inc. (AAPL - Free Report) has been one the biggest contributors to the market’s gains this month. The iPhone maker’s shares are up 18% so far this month, and the company breezed past the coveted $2-trillion market cap for the first time earlier in August. The company, no doubt, has proven to be resilient to the coronavirus pandemic, and still generates a bulk of its revenues by selling high-priced devices, primarily made in China.

At the same time, Apple is joined by Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook, which together make up more than a fifth of the S&P 500 and is responsible for almost third of the gains since the recent rally started. But let’s admit, gains among a majority of e-commerce stocks, construction players and financials also powered the benchmarks this month.

Most importantly, growing confidence around coronavirus treatments helped the stock market scale higher. Additionally, positive moves were fueled by the Fed’s commitment to keep the interest rates close to zero for a very long time.

The Fed recently introduced an inflation policy framework that would keep rates lower. The central bank ended its practice of pre-emptively hiking rates in case of higher inflation. Earlier this year, the Fed trimmed its interest rates to near zero and launched an open-ended asset purchasing program to strengthen the economy affected by the pandemic.

And talking about consumers, their confidence on their well-being remained high in the month of August. The University of Michigan’s August consumer sentiment index read 74.1, up from 72.5 in July.

5 Top Winners

With Wall Street set to see its best August in 36 years banking on coronavirus treatment optimism, Fed’s plan to keep rates low even if inflation rises and growing consumer confidence put the spotlight on stocks with the best month-to-date gains. These stocks also have more room to move northward in the near term. These stocks flaunt a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy).

TFF Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (TFFP - Free Report) is an early-stage biopharmaceutical company. It currently has a Zacks Rank #2. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has moved 2.4% north over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for current and next quarter is 71.4% and 89.5%, respectively. Its shares have gained 77.2% in the past four-week period.

BMC Stock Holdings, Inc. provides diversified building products and services to professional builders and contractors. It currently has a Zacks Rank #1. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has advanced 56.1% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for current and next year is 8.4% and 16%, respectively. Its shares have gained 61% in the past four-week period.

Liquidity Services, Inc. (LQDT - Free Report) employs innovative e-commerce marketplace solutions to manage, value and sell inventory and equipment for business and government clients. It currently has a Zacks Rank #2. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has climbed 64.4% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for current and next quarter is 114.3% and 91.7%, respectively. Its shares have gained 50.8% in the past four-week period. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

salesforce.com, inc. (CRM - Free Report) is the leading provider of on-demand Customer Relationship Management (CRM - Free Report) software. It currently has a Zacks Rank #1. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has risen 25.9% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for current year is 25.1%. Its shares have gained 41.4% in the past four-week period.

Live Oak Bancshares, Inc. (LOB - Free Report) is the parent and registered bank holding company of Live Oak Banking Company, which offers online platform for small business lending. It currently has a Zacks Rank #2. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has moved up more than 100% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for current and next quarter is 180% and 70.6%, respectively. Its shares have gained 19.7% in the past four-week period.

5 Stocks Set to Double

Each was hand-picked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2020. Each comes from a different sector and has unique qualities and catalysts that could fuel exceptional growth.

Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.

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