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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Champions Oncology, General Finance, Tilly's, Armstrong Flooring and Medifast

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – October 3, 2018 – 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 Champions Oncology Inc. (CSBR - Free Report) , General Finance Corp. (GFN - Free Report) , Tilly's Inc. (TLYS - Free Report) , Armstrong Flooring Inc. (AFI - Free Report) and Medifast Inc. (MED - Free Report) .

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Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:

Wall Street Bulls to Flourish in Q4: 5 Solid Picks

The Wall Street bull-run, which entered its longest ever expansionary phase on Aug 22, is showing no signs of abatement. Despite trade war concerns, a robust U.S. economy and strong earnings results boosted investors’ confidence in the stock markets.

Strong economic fundamentals have once again aided market participants’ appetite for relatively risky assets like equities. Such factors are likely to pave the way for further upside in the fourth quarter. Consequently, it makes sense to invest in good growth stocks with a favorable Zacks Rank to maximize returns.

Stock market fluctuations which pushed all the three major indexes into the negative territory in February and March gradually diminished in the last six months. Barring a minor fluctuation of the Dow in June and Nasdaq Composite in September, all three indexes have provided positive returns in every month up to September.

Major Indexes Near Record High

The Dow – the 30 stock blue-chip index – is up 7.8% year to date. The index is just 0.4% away from the all-time high of 26,769.15 recorded on Sep 21.

The benchmark S&P 500 index – generally utilized by market participants as the barometer of the broad market movement – is up 9.4% year to date. The index is just 0.2% below the all-time high of 2,930.75 that it set on Sep 20.

The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite is up 16.4% year to date. The index is currently 1.2% away from its record high level of 8,133.30 registered on Aug 30.

Robust U.S. Economic Fundamentals

On average, in the first half of 2018, the U.S. economy grew 3.2%, higher than 3% annual GDP growth that the Trump administration desired. Moreover, unemployment rate in July fell 0.1% from June to 3.9%, its lowest level in nearly 50 years.

The Fed raised the forecast for 2018 GDP growth from 2.8% stated in June to 3.1% in September. Fed’s new estimate also indicates that economic growth will remain stable throughout this year. The primary catalyst behind these positive revisions is the direct impact of tax cuts.

Strong Earnings Data

U.S. corporates earned record high profits in the first two quarters of 2018. In the first quarter, total earnings of S&P 500 companies were up 24.7% on 8.7% higher revenues. In the second quarter, total earnings of S&P 500 companies were up 25.2% on 8.7% higher revenues. For the third quarter, total earnings of S&P 500 companies are likely to be up 17.9% on 7.3% higher revenues. (Read More: Has the Earnings Picture Started Weakening?)

Our Top Picks

Solid macro-economic fundamentals, government’s tax reform and deregulation policies are major tailwinds for the U.S. economy. At this stage, investment in stocks with strong growth potential will be lucrative. However, picking winning stocks can be a difficult task.

We have selected five stocks with Growth Score of A and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here. Our research shows that stocks with a Growth Style Score of A or B when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 or 2 (Buy) offer the best opportunities in the Growth-investing space.

The chart below depicts price performance of our five picks in the last three months.

Champions Oncology Inc. engages in the development of advanced technology solutions to personalize the development and use of oncology drugs. The company has expected earnings growth of 440% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 240% over the past 60 days.

General Finance Corp. provides mobile storage, liquid containment and modular space solutions. The company has expected earnings growth of 283.3% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 91.7% over the past 60 days.

Tilly's Inc. is a specialty retailer in the action sports industry selling clothing, shoes and accessories. The company has expected earnings growth of 38.5% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 11.1% over the past 60 days.

Armstrong Flooring Inc. is engaged in the design and manufacture of flooring solutions primarily in North America. The company has expected earnings growth of 104.8% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 79.2% over the past 60 days.

Medifast Inc. is a leading manufacturer and distributor of clinically proven healthy living products and programs. The company has expected earnings growth of 96.5% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 23.3% over the past 60 days.

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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 >>.

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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.

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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 for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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