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After a Drab February, Things Are Looking Up in March: 5 Picks

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U.S. stocks suffered their worst weekly slide since October 2008 following the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on economic growth and supply chains. Last Thursday, all major benchmarks slipping to the correction territory, mostly defined as a drop of at least 10% from the recent all-time high. And for the month of February, the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq was off 10%, 8.4% and 6.4%, respectively.

Coming back to the virus and its impact on global stocks, several well-known companies like Apple, Nike, United Airlines and Mastercard raised concerns about the upcoming earnings and revenue results. They are worried that the outbreak will hit demand for goods and services. And since the impact is mostly in China, coronavirus will lead to both a demand and a supply shock for the global economy. After all, China is one of the world’s largest exporter and importer of goods.

By the way, the count of infected people continues to rise even as countries take stringent measures to contain the contagion. The WHO believes that the outbreak has the potential to become a pandemic.

New novel coronavirus cases were reported in Florida and New York. Meanwhile, Germany’s health minister announced the “beginning of an epidemic” for the country. This follows the rapid spread of the virus in countries beyond China, including Italy, South Korea and Iran.

And how can we forget that China reported that both its factory and non-factory activities tanked to record lows last month as its economy continues to struggle amid the coronavirus scare. And this certainly raised fears of a global ripple effect.

But there is some heartening news which can help stocks climb in the near term. Investors now expect central banks around the world, including the Fed, to take actions to prevent the steep losses. Most of them are widely expecting a coordinated global effort to trim rates to stimulate the economy.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell recently said that the central bank is “closely monitoring” the outbreak. He added that “we will use our tools and act as appropriate to support the economy.” Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda also said that we “will strive to provide ample liquidity and ensure stability in financial markets through appropriate market operations and asset purchases.”

Let’s also admit, especially when it comes to the United States, that the economy is still in pretty good shape and that should eventually help the stock market scale north. Both domestic manufacturing and service activities picked up recently, and the labor market continues to be strong, a tell-tale sign that the economy is doing well despite the virus onslaught.

Here’re the 5 Best Stocks of March

With the month of March set to dispel the glum of February, investing in fundamentally sound stocks that are poised to gain in the near term seems judicious. We have selected five such stocks that flaunt a Growth Score of A along with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

La-Z-Boy Incorporated LZB mostly distributes and retails upholstery furniture products. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has moved 4.4% north over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current and next quarter is 7.8% and 11.9%, respectively. In fact, the company is expected to notch earnings growth of 10.3% for the current year.

SolarEdge Technologies, Inc. SEDG develops, and sells direct current optimized inverter systems. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has moved up 10.6% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current and next quarter is 100% and 47.9%, respectively. The company is also projected to report earnings growth of 27% for the current year.

SYNNEX Corporation SNX provides business process services. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has climbed 5.8% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current and next quarter is 10.6% and 11.5%, respectively. The company is also expected to report earnings growth of 5.4% for the current year.

Ultra Clean Holdings, Inc. UCTT manufactures, and tests production tools, modules, and subsystems. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has risen 35% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for current quarter, next quarter and current year are all more than 100%.

Amkor Technology, Inc. AMKR provides outsourced semiconductor packaging and test services. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has advanced 25% over the past 60 days. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for current quarter, next quarter and current year is 550%, 475% and 78.6%, respectively.

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