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4 Retail Stocks to Boost Sentiment With a Likely Earnings Beat

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The Wall Street is juggling with various macro and micro issues at the moment that have a direct or an indirect bearing on consumer sentiment. Per the preliminary report from the University of Michigan, consumer sentiment index dipped to its lowest level in two years in January, owing to a host of reasons that raise concerns about the prospects of the economy.

Issues such as U.S.-China trade conflict, volatile crude prices, tightening of monetary policy, partial government shutdown and slowing global economy gravely hurt the consumer sentiment that tumbled to 90.7 in January 2019 — its lowest since October 2016 — from 98.3 in December 2018. Fading of tax-cut benefit and concerns related to the moderating pace of economic growth in 2019 were other dampening factors.

Apparently, consumers’ expectations about the economy have somewhat petered out. There is a lingering fear that a fall in consumer sentiment may impact consumers’ spending pattern, which accounts for over two-thirds of the U.S. economic activity. Undoubtedly, reluctance on the part of consumers to spend more is the last thing retailers want.

A group of investors believe that these factors will weigh on markets. Nonetheless, some experts chose to look on the sunny side with a strengthening labor market and rising disposable income. An uptick in this metric is welcome news for retailers. Notably, the U.S. economy added 312,000 jobs in December. Further, October and November’s job data were revised higher.

It is hard to predict what awaits investors but with earnings season underway it would be prudent to invest in stocks that are likely trump earnings estimates. Here we have highlighted four Retail-Wholesale stocks with the combination of a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and a positive Earnings ESP. Per the latest Earnings Preview report, the sector is expected to record top and bottom-line growth of 4.7% and 18.7%, respectively, in this reporting cycle.

4 Prominent Picks

Casey's General Stores, Inc. (CASY - Free Report) , which is expected to report third-quarter fiscal 2019 results on Mar 6, is a solid bet with a long-term earnings growth rate of 8.9%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the to-be-reported quarter is pegged at 81 cents. In the preceding two quarters, the company has outperformed the consensus mark. This operator of convenience stores has an Earnings ESP of +18.15% and a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Investors can even count on Dillard's, Inc. (DDS - Free Report) with a Zacks Rank #2 and an Earnings ESP of +2.56%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the to-be-reported quarter is pegged at $2.74. The company registered average positive earnings surprise of 21.2% in the trailing four quarters. It has a long-term earnings growth rate of 9.9%. This department store retailer is expected to report fourth-quarter fiscal 2018 results on Feb 26.

Another lucrative option is Five Below, Inc. (FIVE - Free Report) , a specialty value retailer. The stock has a Zacks Rank #2 and an Earnings ESP of +0.45%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter is pegged at $1.57. The company registered average positive earnings surprise of 9.1% in the trailing four quarters. It has a long-term earnings growth rate of 30.3%. The company is expected to announce fourth-quarter fiscal 2018 results on Mar 20.

You may also consider is Tractor Supply Company (TSCO - Free Report) with a Zacks Rank #2 and an Earnings ESP of +0.76%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the to-be-reported quarter is pegged at $1.09. The company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 4.6% in the trailing four quarters. It has a long-term earnings growth rate of 12.2%. This operator of rural lifestyle retail stores is scheduled to report fourth-quarter 2018 financial numbers on Jan 31.

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