US Retail stocks on investors’ shopping list

Wednesday, 04 March 2015

US stock markets opened lower on Tuesday despite a strong performance by retailers as investors took profits after the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 reached new closing record highs the previous session.

While the wider market edged lower, retail stocks were on investors’ shopping lists on the back of upbeat earnings after data from Redbook Research which showed that national chain-store sales were up 0.8 percent in February partly due to a recovery after recent snowstorms across the Northeast, reported Bloomberg.

Dick’s Sporting Goods advanced after beating forecasts with its guidance for 2015 earnings, while Gap shares traded at a rise after being upgraded from ‘market perform’ to ‘outperform’ by FBR.

On another note, L Brands (LB) became one of the biggest ‘dividend boosters’ after raising its quarterly payout by 47 percent from 34 cents to 50 cents in February. The apparel retailer now offers a dividend yield of approximately 2.10 percent based on its annualised dividend payout of 2.00 dollars.

Vera Bradley (NYSE:VRA) is gaining traction after been given an average recommendation of ‘Hold’” by the eleven ratings firms that are covering the stock, StockRatingsNetwork.com reports. Two investment analysts reco0mmend selling the stock, four have issued a ‘hold’ rating and four have given a ‘buy’ rating to the company. The average 12-month price target

Elsewhere, Chinese online apparel retailer Vipshop (NYSE:VIPS) briefly advanced just to fall “below a 23.06 handle buy point just ahead of its Q4 report,” as highlighted ‘Investor’s Business Daily’.

Finally, shares of Ascena Retail Group Inc. (ASNA) fell more than 5 percent in extended hours trading Tuesday after the apparel retailer reported second quarter results that fell short from Wall Street expectations.

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