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5 Stocks to Buy as Economy Continues to be on the Mend in 2H

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The year 2020 saw a rollercoaster ride for the stock market as the coronavirus had put a pause on regular economic activities while people struggled to adjust to the new normal, globally. Stepping into 2021, progress in vaccination, constant support from the US government and the Federal Reserve aid enabled the economy to walk the route of recovery.

As the economy continues to rebound, the stock market it several all-time highs in the first six months of the current year. Notably, the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite rallied 12.7%, 14.4% and 12.5%, respectively. In fact, these benchmarks marked the best six months of gain in the first half of this year since 2019. Major indices surged higher as investors focused on energy, financials and industrial stocks that benefited in the early stage of the economic cycle.

Now ‘what’s next’ is the pivotal question hovering over every mind. While we cannot sideline the pandemic threat completely, ramped-up vaccination and the government’s preparedness in battling another wave of this deadly outbreak are commendable. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 155.9 million people have been fully vaccinated in the United States as of Jul 1.

CDC states that 78.3% people above the age of 65 and 57.7% of those above 18 years of age are completely immunized now. As the vaccination drive continues, vaccine makers are also continuing with their research to ensure that the vaccines are capable of fighting the variants of COVID-19. Recently, Moderna reported that its vaccine showed immense promise in a lab study against the Delta mutant first identified in India.

Reopening initiatives, easy monetary policies and government stimulus boosted consumer confidence in the first half of 2021 and will continue to drive sentiments for the rest of the year. In fact, the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index climbed to 127.3 in June and currently stands at its maximum since the coronavirus pandemic’s first surge witnessed last March. However, inflation remains a concern and might compel the Fed to raise the interest rate but that surely won’t happen anytime soon or in 2022.

Further, President Joe Biden’s massive $1-trillion infrastructure bill is sure to aid the economy in the second half of the year. So far, the bill has been backed by 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats while 60 votes are still required to pass the bill in the Senate.

The infrastructure bill talks of $579 billion in new spending on transportation and broadband, specifically. Specifically, nearly $312 billion will be assigned to transportation, of which $109 billion will be invested in roads, bridges and other major projects while $66 billion to be reserved for passenger and freight rail and $49 billion for public transit.

5 Socks to Buy

Several stock market analysts estimate that the S&P 500 might hit the 4,600 mark by the end of this year as the economy recovers from the pandemic. And given the strong economic data so far this year, investors can surely benefit from the momentum in the stocks despite the lingering effects of COVID-19. Hence, we shortlisted five stocks that sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), have a Momentum Score of A and have moved north in the early part of the year. You can see  the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Continental Resources, Inc. (CLR - Free Report) explores, develops, and produces crude oil and natural gas. The company's expected earnings growth rate for the current year is more than 100% above the Zacks Oil and Gas - Exploration and Production - United States industry’s projected earnings growth of 3.2%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 31.1% upward over the past 60 days. Shares of Continental Resources have surged more than 100% so far this year.

Grindrod Shipping Holdings Ltd. (GRIN - Free Report) is an international shipping company, which owns, charters-in and operates a fleet of dry bulk carriers and tankers. The company's expected earnings growth rate for the current year is more than 100% above the Zacks  Transportation - Shipping industry’s projected earnings growth of 11.6%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised nearly 72% upward over the past 60 days. Shares of Grindrod Shipping have soared more than 100% so far this year.

Conn's, Inc. (CONN - Free Report) operates as a specialty retailer of durable consumer goods and related services. The company's expected earnings growth rate for the current year is up in excess of 100% from the Zacks  Retail - Consumer Electronics industry’s projected earnings growth of 28.4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been raised 60.7% over the past 60 days. Shares of Conn's have skyrocketed more than 100% so far this year.

Rocky Brands, Inc. (RCKY - Free Report) designs, manufactures and markets footwear and apparel under the Rocky, Georgia Boot, Durango, Lehigh and licensed Michelin brand names. The company's expected earnings growth rate for the current year is more than 100% compared with the Zacks  Shoes and Retail Apparel industry’s projected earnings growth of 29.5%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has moved 57.8% north over the past 60 days. Shares of Rocky Brands have jumped 97.7% so far this year.

The Children's Place, Inc. (PLCE - Free Report) operates as a children's specialty apparel retailer. The company's expected earnings growth rate for the current year is more than 100% compared with the Zacks  Retail - Apparel and Shoes industry’s projected earnings growth of 44.5%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised above 100% upward over the past 60 days. Shares of The Children's Place have rallied 85.8% so far this year.

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