For Immediate Release
Chicago, IL – September 20, 2018 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include American Woodmark Corp. (AMWD - Free Report) , Guess', Inc. (GES - Free Report) , Rocky Brands, Inc. (RCKY - Free Report) , W.W. Grainger, Inc. (GWW - Free Report) and Caterpillar Inc. (CAT - Free Report) .
Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.
Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:
Wall Street Resilient to Trade Jitters: Top 5 Gainers
Let’s admit that a trade war has become less of a concerning factor for most stock-market investors. They have chosen to look past US-China trade conflict as tariffs on both US and Chinese goods are not as bad as feared.
Instead, investors are loading up on U.S. stocks, backed by solid economic data and promising corporate outlook, courtesy of the tax cut bill passed last year. This has pacified investors to a large extent, with gyrations in the broader market almost negligible.
Stocks Climb as Tariffs Seem Less of a Threat
President Trump recently built pressure on Beijing by announcing tariffs on about $200 billion of Chinese products in response to “unfair trade practices.” As per administrative officials, tariffs on Chinese imports will be effective Sep 24 and will primarily be set at a rate of 10%. This will rise to 25% by the end of the year. This time, the tariffs will raise prices of thousands of consumer products — starting from housewares and foods to luggage and electronics.
China, in the meanwhile, retaliated with tariffs of 5% to 10% on $60 billion worth of U.S. products which will go into effect on Sep 24. This indicates a move toward a full-fledged trade war that could derail economic growth and squeeze corporate profits (read more: Sino-US Trade Relations Turn Sour: Winners & Losers).
The U.S. stock market, however, closed higher on Sep 18 as investors chose to ignore the intensifying US-China trade tensions. They see the tariffs as less consequential than apprehended. After all, the United States did not stick to the initial 25% tariff imposition plan.
Karl Haeling of LBBW rightly said that “it’s a sign that Trump recognizes the pressure, the more he raises tariffs before Christmas, and the more it could increase unpopularity.” Needless to say, American business communities have discouraged the decision to levy tariffs on millions of products American consumers buy on a daily basis.
China too has applied a 10% tariff on certain goods that it had earlier earmarked for a 20% levy. The Shanghai Composite bounced back from its lowest level in four years, and rose nearly 2% overnight. By the way, China’s plunge protection team is prepared to save the stock market in case trade tensions ratchet higher. Analysts Michael Tong and Luka Zhu said in a report on Sep 18 that “the team usually steps in to act as a market stabilizer when the stock market experiences a rapid and sharp correction, or during politically-sensitive periods.”
Investors Focus on Robust Economy
Investors, at the same time, chose to keep an eye on improving economic reports and strong growth in corporate earnings. Americans, in fact,haven’t been this confident about the economy in 18 years.As per the Conference Board, the consumer confidence index climbed to 133.4 in August from a revised 127.9 in July. The key economic indicator that measures attitudes on future economic prospects reached the highest level since October 2000 and surpassed the post-recession high of 130 scaled this February.
Consumer sentiment in September climbed to the second-highest level since 2004, according to a University of Michigan survey. The preliminary report showed that the consumer sentiment index came in at 100.8. Such an upbeat reading will help household spending increase leaps and bounds.
Consumers’ optimism was largely driven by strength in the labor market. The current unemployment rate is now at a nearly two-decade low, while the U.S. economy added jobs for 95 successive months in August, the longest stretch on record.
And when it comes to Q2 earnings, growth reached its highest level since 2010, eclipsing the pace set in 1Q18 of 24.5% earnings growth on 8.5% revenue gains. Meanwhile, earnings growth in Q3 is expected to be up 18.1% from the same period last year on 7.2% higher revenues. This will mark the 6th double-digit earnings growth in the last seven quarters (read more: Looking Ahead to Q3 Earnings Season).
In fact, investors are getting optimistic about U.S. stocks, largely because of the encouraging outlook for corporate profits. As per the latest monthly survey of fund managers by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, released on Sep 18, there is a net allocation of 21% overweight to the US equity market, the highest since January 2015.
The survey also figured out that a net 69% of those polled said that the United States is the most sorted region when it comes to earnings expectations.
Markets Keep Calm
The picture for corporate profits coupled with improving consumer sentiment resulted in a low-volatile market. The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), a popular measure of volatility and investor anxiety, is currently at 12.79, well below its long-term average of 19 to 20. The VIX has, in fact, dropped more than 20% since the beginning of July.
Bespoke Investment Group added that the average absolute daily change, in either direction, for the S&P 500 has been 0.4% in the last 50 trading sessions. But, in September, the index has average daily moves of less than 0.24%. This extremely low volatility is extremely unusual, since September is traditionally one of the most volatile months.
5 Top Winners
Given the buoyancy, we have selected five solid stocks from the major indices. These stocks have not only gained on Sep 18 but are poised to move north in the near term.
At the same time, these stocks flaunt a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and a VGM Score of A or B. Here V stands for Value, G for Growth and M for Momentum and the score is a weighted combination of these three metrics. Such a score allows you to eliminate the negative aspects of stocks and select winners.
American Woodmark Corp. manufactures and distributes kitchen, bath, and home organization products for the remodelling and new home construction markets. The company has a Zacks Rank #2, a VGM Score of A and has rallied 1% on Sep 18. The company’s projected growth rate for the current year is 45.4%, while the Furniture industry is expected to rise 9.2%.
In the last 60 days, two earnings estimates moved north, while none moved south for the next year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings rose 1.1% in the same period.
Guess', Inc. designs, markets, distributes, and licenses lifestyle collections of apparel and accessories for men, women, and children. The company has a Zacks Rank #1, a VGM Score of A and has rallied 1.7% on Sep 18. The company’s projected growth rate for the current year is 48.6%, while the Textile - Apparel industry is expected to rise 17.9%.
In the last 60 days, three earnings estimates moved north, while none moved south for the next year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings rose almost 3% in the same period.
Rocky Brands, Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets footwear and apparel under the Rocky, Georgia Boot, Durango, Lehigh, and Michelin brand names. The company has a Zacks Rank #1, a VGM Score of B and has rallied 1% on Sep 18. The company’s projected growth rate for the current year is 46.6%, while the Shoes and Retail Apparel industry is expected to rise 15%.
In the last 60 days, one earnings estimate moved north, while none moved south for the next year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings rose 13.3% in the same period. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
W.W. Grainger, Inc. distributes maintenance, repair, and operating (MRO) supplies; and other related products and services that are used by businesses and institutions. The company has a Zacks Rank #2, a VGM Score of A and has rallied 0.6% on Sep 18. The company’s projected growth rate for the current year is 40.1%, while the Industrial Services industry is expected to rise 31%.
In the last 60 days, three earnings estimates moved north, while none moved south for the next year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings rose 1% in the same period.
Caterpillar Inc. manufactures and sells construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives for construction, resource, and energy and transportation industries. The company has a Zacks Rank #2, a VGM Score of A and has rallied nearly 2% on Sep 18. The company’s projected growth rate for the current year is 69.3%, while the Manufacturing - Construction and Mining industry is expected to rise 2.3%.
In the last 60 days, 11 earnings estimates moved north, while none moved south for the next year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings rose 8.4% in the same period.
Today's Stocks from Zacks' Hottest Strategies
It's hard to believe, even for us at Zacks. But while the market gained +21.9% in 2017, our top stock-picking screens have returned +115.0%, +109.3%, +104.9%, +98.6%, and +67.1%.
And this outperformance has not just been a recent phenomenon. Over the years it has been remarkably consistent. From 2000 - 2017, the composite yearly average gain for these strategies has beaten the market more than 19X over. Maybe even more remarkable is the fact that we're willing to share their latest stocks with you without cost or obligation.
See Them Free>>
About Zacks Equity Research
Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.
Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.
Strong Stocks that Should Be in the News
Many are little publicized and fly under the Wall Street radar. They're virtually unknown to the general public. Yet today's 220 Zacks Rank #1 "Strong Buys" were generated by the stock-picking system that has nearly tripled the market from 1988 through 2015. Its average gain has been a stellar +26% per year. See these high-potential stocks free >>.
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/zacksresearch
Join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Zacks-Investment-Research/57553657748?ref=ts
Zacks Investment Research is under common control with affiliated entities (including a broker-dealer and an investment adviser), which may engage in transactions involving the foregoing securities for the clients of such affiliates.
Zacks Investment Research
800-767-3771 ext. 9339
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit https://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.