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V.F. Corp Soars to a New High

Zacks Equity Research

Shares of V.F. Corporation (VFC) crafted a new 52-week high of $180.01 on Tuesday, May 7, 2013 based on the company’s consistent positive earnings surprise trend, strong organic revenue growth, impressive management guidance and strategies to expand its global reach.

This home improvement retailer eventually closed trade at $179.95 on May 7, recording a year-to-date return of 19.7%. Average volume of shares traded over the last 3 months stands at approximately 667K. Moreover, the company currently trades at a forward P/E of 16.5x, a 5.1% premium to the industry average of 15.7x.

If we look at the company’s earnings surprise history, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock has outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the past 14 quarters. The average positive surprise in the trailing 14 quarters comes to 10.5%.

V.F. Corp.'s diversified brand portfolio and its approach to brand management, which remains focused on further developing its brands, position the company well above its peers. We believe that given the strength of many of its brands and opportunities with regard to distribution, the company is set for significant long-term growth.

Last month, V.F. Corp. reported robust first-quarter 2013 earnings results primarily driven by strong top-line growth and improved margins. First-quarter earnings of $2.43 per share exhibited an improvement of over 25.3% from the comparable year-ago quarter and the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.17.

V.F. Corp’s total sales grew 2.2% to $2,611.9 million in the quarter but fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,652 million.

Given the solid first-quarter results, the company expects 2013 revenues to increase 6% to $11.5 billion. Gross and operating margins are anticipated to expand by 100 basis points.

Based on these forecasts, V.F. Corp. expects its adjusted earnings for 2013 to rise by 5 cents to $10.75 per share, compared to the previous forecast of $10.70 per share. Currently, the Zacks Consensus Estimate stands at $12.25 per share, which is substantially above the company’s guidance.

Apart from strong first-quarter results, V.F. Corp.’s growth story looks compelling. We believe that the company’s sustained focus on strategic acquisitions, along with expanding global operations, bode well for future growth.

Besides V.F. Corp., companies such as Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), Nordstrom Inc. (JWN) and Whirlpool Corp. (WHR) achieved new 52-week highs of $34.34, $58.66 and $122.80, respectively, on Tuesday, May 7.

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