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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Deckers Outdoor, Iconix Brand Group, Finish Line, Men's Wearhouse and GAMCO Investors

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release
Chicago, IL – December 31, 2013 – 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 the Deckers Outdoor Corporation ( DECK- Free Report), Iconix Brand Group, Inc. ( ICON- Free Report), Finish Line Inc. ( FINL- Free Report), Men's Wearhouse, Inc. ( MW- Free Report) and GAMCO Investors, Inc. ( GBL- Free Report).
Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free .

Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:

Deckers Upgraded to Strong Buy

On Dec 28, 2013, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Deckers Outdoor Corporation ( DECK- Free Report), the designer and producer of footwear and accessories, to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). The stock has amassed a year-to-date return of 118.1%.

Why the Upgrade?

The challenging macroeconomic environment compelled Deckers to resort to various means for repositioning itself and keep afloat. Such measures include focusing on new product introductions, effective cost management and new store openings. This is well reflected through Deckers’ better-than-expected third-quarter 2013 bottom-line results.

The company posted quarterly earnings of 95 cents a share that surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 72 cents, buoyed by the expansion of direct-to-consumer operations, omnichannel strategies, effective inventory management and optimum capital allocation. Deckers’ total net sales jumped 2.7% year over year to $386.7 million and came almost in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Management continues to project total revenue growth of 8% for 2013, while it envisions a 10% rise in earnings per share, up from 8% predicted earlier.

Following sturdy results, the analysts become more constructive on the stock’s future performance. Consequently, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 1.5% to $3.94, while for 2014 it rose 2.2% to $4.75 per share in the last 60 days.

The earnings surprise history of the company also sparks optimism about its future upbeat performance. Deckers has outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the last four quarters by an average of 48.1%.

Deckers is also expanding its footprint by targeting profitable markets. This is well evident from the company’s retail store sales that rose 34.5%. Management is eyeing opportunities for store expansion in Asia, mainly Japan and China, and seeks to enhance the company’s presence in South Korea, Taiwan, Mongolia, Singapore and Australia.

Other Stocks That Warrant a Look

Other stocks worth considering in the retail sector include Iconix Brand Group, Inc. ( ICON- Free Report), Finish Line Inc. ( FINL- Free Report) and The Men's Wearhouse, Inc. ( MW- Free Report) all carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

GAMCO Investors Upped to Strong Buy
On Dec 27, Zacks Investment Research upgraded GAMCO Investors, Inc. ( GBL- Free Report) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Why the Upgrade?
GAMCO Investors has witnessed a rise in earnings estimates on the back of solid third-quarter 2013 results. Moreover, this investment manager delivered positive earnings surprises in the 3 of the past 4 quarters with an average beat of 10.2%. The long-term expected earnings growth rate for this stock is 15.0%.
GAMCO Investors reported third-quarter (ended Sep 30) results on Nov 6. Earnings per share of $1.29 substantially beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 96 cents. Results also marked a 79.2% rise from 72 cents earned in the year-ago quarter.
Other income, as reported by GAMCO Investors, was the highlight of the quarter. It stood at $18.0 million, against an expense of $1.4 million in prior-year quarter. Further, as of Sep 30, 2013, assets under management (:AUM) were $43.5 billion (a record high) rising 17.8% from Sep 30, 2012.
The company’s efficient capital deployment activities in the forms of regular dividends, special dividends and share buybacks are encouraging as well. Moreover, with further growth in the overall equity market, we anticipate continued improvement in net inflows. This, in turn, will expectedly increase the company’s AUM and thereby boost the top-line in the quarters ahead.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 8.5% to $4.58 per share over the last 60 days. For 2014, the estimate rose 3.9% to $4.81 per share over the same time frame.
Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

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