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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Berkshire Hathaway, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Bravo Brio Restaurant Group, Children's Place, MYR Group and Cosan

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – March 20, 2017 – Zacks.com 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 Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B – Free Report ), Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. (NYSE:HII – Free Report ), Bravo Brio Restaurant Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: BBRG – Free Report ), Children's Place, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCE – Free Report ), MYR Group Inc. (NASDAQ: MYRG – Free Report ) and Cosan Limited (NYSE: CZZ – Free Report ).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free .

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

5 Solid Stocks Making the Most of March Madness

March Madness defines the time of the year when fans cheer their basketball teams and brackets are made. The annual National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is stimulating, more so because of the uncertainty surrounding the fate of the tournament. Investing in the stock market is equally electrifying as investors may win big or lose everything.

The way a fan gets gripped by the March Madness, investors closely monitor the stock market. As a matter of fact, historically, past March Madness tournaments have coincided with strong stock gains. To top it, we are in the middle of an eight-year Bull Run, which is no fluke, since the current stock prices are well supported by the Trump-induced rally. Investors, in the meanwhile, have also cheered a Fed rate hike as it signifies strength in the domestic economy.

Given such positive trends, it will be prudent to make some bets in fundamentally sound companies that could make the most of the March Madness and move north.

March Madness – An Exciting Time of Year

Millions of Americans will agree that March Madness is charged with fun and frolic, especially, when there is money on the line. March Madness is a moniker given to the NCAA men and women basketball tournaments. It is a phenomenon that grips the national sports psyche from the middle of March through the first week of April. In fact, more number of people is expected to fill the NCAA tournament bracket than those who have voted for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), a national trade group that represents the casino industry, Americans will gamble $10.4 billion on the tournament this year, up from $9.2 billion last year. This is quite a staggering figure, almost equivalent to the gross domestic product of several countries including Armenia, Malta and Namibia. Just $295 million or 3% of the betting, however, will be legal as per AGA.

The tournament is so notoriously difficult that even Warren Buffet had said that he will give $1 million every year for life to any Berkshire Hathaway Inc. ( NYSE:BRK.B – Free Report ) employee who picks this year’s Sweet 16 correctly. The human rationale used in the decision making process has many comparisons to that of investing in the equity market. Like sports analysts who seem knowledgeable enough to pick the right team to win the NCAA tournament, financial analysts also claim that they can pick the right stocks that will outperform the rest of the market. In fact, it may be a statistical coincidence, but, the NCAA tournament seems to put Wall Street into a buying mood.

NCAA Tournaments Coincide with Stock Gains

Major U.S. stock market indices have historically posted positive results during March Madness, surging over the course of the tournament. The Dow Jones Industrials Average has risen in nine of the past 11 times, with an average return of 2.1%.

The S&P 500 has also rallied in 10 of the trailing 11 tournaments, with an average gain of 2.2%. The S&P 500 only fell in 2014, down 1.5%, when the University of Connecticut Huskies emerged victorious over the University of Kentucky Wildcats. Lest we forget, March has been traditionally the best month of the year for the S&P 500. On an average, the benchmark index increased 2.7% in March every year from 2007 to 2016 and was in the positive territory in 70% of the years.

The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index too has been up in eight of the past 11 tournaments, having registered an average return of 2.3%. Similarly, the Russell 2000 index, that represents the smaller companies in the U.S. stock market, went up in nine of the past 11 years, with an average gain of almost 3%. Needless to say that the tournament spills over into April, which is historically the second best performing month of the year and has better odds of rising.

Bull Market Turns Eight, Investors Cheer Rate Hike

The broader markets, in the meantime, have endured a lot of gyrations and have come a long way from the rock-bottom levels, with some of the latest gains being attributed to President Trump’s market-friendly policies. On Mar 9, the U.S. stock market had already celebrated its eighth anniversary of the Bull Run after the terrifying decline triggered by the Great Recession (read more: 5 Top Stocks to Buy as Bull Market Turns Eight ).

Stock market investors can also celebrate the Fed rate hike. Even though a rate hike reduces liquidity in the market, it generally coincides with acceleration in economic growth, fueling bull market for stocks. Citing an improving labor market and greater confidence in consumers, the Fed has raised its federal funds rate to a range of 0.75% to 1% this month. The policy rate rose by 25 basis points to 1% for the first time in a decade (read more: 5 Biggest Winners from the Fed Rate Hike ).

5 Stocks to Make the Most of the March Madness

Like sports analysts betting on the winners of the NCAA tournament, investors are looking for stocks that are likely to gather steam. Hence, it will be judicious to invest in some rock-solid stocks that could make the most of the bullishness in the market.

For that to happen, Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks will be the best choice. The stocks also boost a VGM score of ‘A’. Here V stands for Value, G for Growth and M for Momentum, and the score is a weighted combination of these three metrics. Such a score allows you to eliminate the negative aspects of stocks and select winners.

Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. (NYSE:HII – Free Report ) engages in designing, building, overhauling and repairing of ships in the U.S. The company’s expected growth rate for the current year is 11.1%, more than the Aerospace - Defense industry’s increase of 1.8%. Huntington Ingalls outperformed the industry on a year-to-date basis (+13.69% vs. +10.57%).

Bravo Brio Restaurant Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:BBRG – Free Report ) owns and operates Italian restaurants in the U.S. The company’s expected growth rate for the current year is 51%, more than the Retail - Restaurants industry’s increase of 5.3%. Bravo Brio Restaurant has outperformed the industry on a year-to-date basis (+35.65% vs. -1.26%).

The Children's Place, Inc. (NASDAQ:PLCE – Free Report ) operates as a children's specialty apparel retailer. The company’s expected growth rate for the current year is 16.9%, in contrast to the Retail - Apparel and Shoes industry’s decrease of 3.6%. Children's Place outperformed the industry on a year-to-date basis (+17.34% vs. -8.03%).

MYR Group Inc. (NASDAQ:MYRG – Free Report ) provides electrical construction services in the U.S. The company’s expected growth rate for the current year is 38%, more than the Electric Construction industry’s increase of 25.1%. MYR Group outperformed the industry on a year-to-date basis (+9.67% vs. +9.11%).

Cosan Limited (NYSE:CZZ – Free Report ) engages in fuel and natural gas distribution, logistics, lubricant, sugar and ethanol, and fuel businesses internationally including the U.S. The company’s expected growth rate for the current year is 22.6%, higher than the Agriculture - Products industry’s increase of 17.7%. Cosan outperformed the industry on a year-to-date basis (+17.15% vs. +9.23%).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

5 Trades Could Profit "Big-League" from Trump Policies

If the stocks above spark your interest, wait until you look into companies primed to make substantial gains from Washington's changing course.

Today Zacks reveals 5 tickers that could benefit from new trends like streamlined drug approvals, tariffs, lower taxes, higher interest rates, and spending surges in defense and infrastructure. See these buy recommendations now >>

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1 Stock of the Day pick for free .

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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Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.B): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. (HII): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Bravo Brio Restaurant Group, Inc. (BBRG): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Children's Place, Inc. (The) (PLCE): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
MYR Group, Inc. (MYRG): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Cosan Limited (CZZ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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