U.S. Markets close in 2 hrs 38 mins

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Rocky Brands, American Public Education, Vegas Sands, Bluegreen Vacations and SP Plus

Zacks Equity Research
Circor (CIR) doesn't possess the right combination of the two key ingredients for a likely earnings beat in its upcoming report. Get prepared with the key expectations.

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – May 1, 2018 – 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 Rocky Brands, Inc. RCKY, American Public Education, Inc. APEI, Las Vegas Sands Corp. LVS, Bluegreen Vacations Corp. BXG and SP Plus Corp. SP.

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

Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:

5 Top-Rated Stocks to Defy Fall in Q1 Consumer Spending

The U.S. economy expanded at a pace of 2.3% in the first quarter, coming in above the consensus estimate. However, it represents a decline from the pace of 3% experienced during the last three quarters of 2017. While declines were felt across all components, consumer spending declined significantly after strong gains in the fourth quarter of 2017.

This may appear to be worrying at first glance, but first-quarter figures have been dismal in recent years due to statistical and weather-related issues. Other consumer-related indicators are also on an upswing which means that consumer spending should pick up over the rest of the year. Investing in consumer discretionary stocks looks like a smart option at this point.

Spending Posts Smallest Increase in 5 Years

Consumer spending, which makes up almost two-thirds of total GDP, dropped to a pace of 1.1% in the first quarter. This is the slowest pace witnessed since the second quarter of 2015. Further, it comes on the heels of the fourth quarter’s 4% increase, the largest expansion in three years. It seems that during this period, consumers chose to focus on savings and paying off bills.

Further, it is likely that unusually cold weather acted as an impediment to spending. Following the post-hurricane increase during the final months of 2017, consumers also took a breather from spending on motor vehicles. Expenditure on clothing, footwear and food and beverages also declined, likely due to delayed tax refunds.

Rebound Likely in Upcoming Quarters, Other Indicators Positive

Most economists point out the first quarter has been the most disappointing one in five of the last eight years. This has been attributed to statistical factors such as residual seasonality. Further, the impact of Trump’s tax cuts is yet to kick in. Moreover, an increase in wages and investment is likely to fuel stronger consumer expenditure in the quarters ahead.

Meanwhile, the employment cost index increased 0.8% in the first quarter, providing fresh evidence of an uptick in wages. Moreover, the cost of worker compensation advanced to a yearly pace of 2.7%, the largest increase since 2008. This is a logical outcome with unemployment a 17-year low of 4.1%.

Additionally, retail sales recently reversed the soft trend observed in the first few months of the year, increasing by 0.6% in March. Also, the Consumer Confidence Index rebounded in April, increasing from 127 to 128.7.  With this increase, the index is only marginally below the level of 130 achieved in February, a level last witnessed in late 2000.

Further, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index came in at 98.8 for April, exceeding the estimated level of 98.2. This occurred primarily because of consumers’ positive perception of their finances.

Our Choices

Though first-quarter GDP has come in above estimates, the fall in consumer spending has led to a decline from the level witnessed in the fourth quarter. However, this is likely only a temporary phenomenon, given the poor first quarter readings witnessed in recent years.

Additionally, a low unemployment rate, wage growth and the impact of tax cuts is likely to boost consumer spending in the quarters ahead. Adding consumer discretionary stocks to your portfolios looks like a prudent option at this time. However, picking winning stocks may be difficult.

This is where our VGM Score comes in. Here V stands for Value, G for Growth and M for Momentum and the score is a weighted combination of these three scores. Such a score allows you to eliminate the negative aspects of stocks and select winners. However, it is important to keep in mind that each Style Score will carry a different weight while arriving at a VGM Score.

We have narrowed down our search to the following stocks, each of which has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and a good VGM score. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Rocky Brands, Inc. is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of premium quality footwear and apparel.

Rocky Brands has a VGM Score of A. The company’s projected growth rate for the current year is 29.3%.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 7.1% over the last 30 days.

American Public Education, Inc. is an online provider of higher education, focused primarily on serving the military and public service communities.

American Public Education has a VGM Score of B. The company has expected earnings growth of 18.4% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 14.2% over the last 60 days.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. is a leading international developer of multi-use integrated resorts primarily operating in the U.S. and Asia. Las Vegas Sands has a VGM Score of B. The company’s projected growth rate for the current year is 13.3%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 2.7% over the last 30 days.

Bluegreen Vacations Corp. markets, sells and manages timeshare resorts, urban destinations, clubs and residential lands.

Bluegreen Vacations has a VGM Score of A. The company’s expected earnings growth for the current year 19.6%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 5.7% over the last 60 days.

SP Plus Corp. provides professional parking, ground transportation, facility maintenance, security and event logistics services to property owners and managers in all markets of the real estate industry.

SP Plus has a VGM Score of B. The company has expected earnings growth of 30% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 10.5% over the last 60 days.

The Hottest Tech Mega-Trend of All

Last year, it generated $8 billion in global revenues. By 2020, it's predicted to blast through the roof to $47 billion. Famed investor Mark Cuban says it will produce "the world's first trillionaires," but that should still leave plenty of money for regular investors who make the right trades early.

See Zacks' 3 Best Stocks to Play This Trend >>

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 >>.

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/zacksresearch

Join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Zacks-Investment-Research/57553657748?ref=ts

Zacks Investment Research is under common control with affiliated entities (including a broker-dealer and an investment adviser), which may engage in transactions involving the foregoing securities for the clients of such affiliates.

Media Contact

Zacks Investment Research

800-767-3771 ext. 9339

support@zacks.com

https://www.zacks.com/

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit https://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.


Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
 
Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Bluegreen Vacations Corporation (BXG) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Rocky Brands, Inc. (RCKY) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SP Plus Corporation (SP) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
 
Zacks Investment Research

  • Why Is Ford Stock Tanking before Its Q3 2018 Earnings Event?
    Finance
    Market Realist

    Why Is Ford Stock Tanking before Its Q3 2018 Earnings Event?

    Why Analysts Are Pessimistic about Ford’s Q3 2018 Earnings  Ford’s Q3 2018 earnings Ford Motor Company (F), the second-largest US automaker by 2017 vehicle sales volume, is set to release its third quarter of 2018 earnings report on October 24. But before

  • Now is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ chance to invest in US pot companies, investor says
    Finance
    Yahoo Finance

    Now is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ chance to invest in US pot companies, investor says

    With some Canadian pot stocks posting triple-digit return rates this year, many retail investors have looked north to pour cash into cannabis. U.S. cannabis companies are worth a lot more than their current valuations suggest since federal illegality has put undue pressure on the industry, said David Wenger, a New York attorney and senior editor of the Cannabis Law Digest.

  • Why ServiceSource International Is Imploding Today
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Why ServiceSource International Is Imploding Today

    Shares of ServiceSource (NASDAQ: SREV), a provider of outsourced inside sales and customer service solutions, are being obliterated today. The stock is down 46% as of 11:07 a.m. EDT on Friday after the company shared preliminary third-quarter results and revised its full-year guidance.

  • Here’s why you shouldn’t retire super early — even if you can
    Business
    MarketWatch

    Here’s why you shouldn’t retire super early — even if you can

    Despite the many perks of early retirement — waking up whenever you want, for example — it wasn’t the easiest decision. Earnings tend to peak around 48 for men and about 39 for women, according to an analysis by PayScale.

  • Business
    Benzinga

    Jim Cramer Shares His Thoughts On Amarin, AT&T, McDonald's And More

    On CNBC's "Mad Money Lightning Round", Jim Cramer said Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: ARWR) is a great speculative stock. Cramer is willing to endorse AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), but he thinks Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) offers more safety

  • What happens if you win Mega Millions' $970M jackpot?
    News
    Associated Press

    What happens if you win Mega Millions' $970M jackpot?

    Despite the terrible odds — one in 302.5 million for those keeping score at home — someone will eventually match all six numbers and win the Mega Millions jackpot, which now stands at $970 million. Here are some answers for someone holding that prized lottery ticket for what would be the second-largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history. Lottery officials recommend winners take a deep breath, put their winning ticket in a safe spot and consult with a reputable financial planner before popping over to the lottery headquarters.

  • Business
    Barrons.com

    How High Can Apple Stock Go? This Analyst Says the Sky’s the Limit

    The sky’s the limit for (AAPL) (AAPL), Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives said in a note late Thursday that gave the company the highest price target on Wall Street. In his Overweight recommendation, Ives, managing director of equity research, initiated coverage with a $310 target on the stock, a 43.5% upside from Thursday’s closing price. Insatiable demand for Apple’s new crop of iPhones, including its highest-priced model yet (the $1,099 iPhone XS Max), will lead the charge in 2019 and beyond, Ives told Barron’s.

  • Suddenly Toxic, Saudi Prince Is Shunned by Investors He Courted
    World
    Bloomberg

    Suddenly Toxic, Saudi Prince Is Shunned by Investors He Courted

    Now Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could become the biggest risk to his own project. Everything changed when Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and didn’t come out. Prince Mohammed, who’s denied any knowledge of Khashoggi’s fate, still has his defenders -– notably Donald Trump.

  • Goldman Sachs Adds Nvidia To 'Conviction Buy' List
    Business
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Goldman Sachs Adds Nvidia To 'Conviction Buy' List

    Goldman Sachs analyst Toshiya Hari reiterated his 'Buy' rating for Nvidia and added the chip-maker to Goldman’s 'Conviction Buy' list.

  • Home Depot vs. Lowe’s: Both Stocks Are Slumping, So Which One Should You Buy?
    Finance
    GoBankingRates

    Home Depot vs. Lowe’s: Both Stocks Are Slumping, So Which One Should You Buy?

    An analyst downgrade based on housing market outlooks has sent stocks from Lowe’s and Home Depot down over the last two days. Both Home Depot and Lowe’s are in downtrends dating back to September. On Wednesday, shares in Lowe’s and The Home Depot were slumping after disappointing housing market data led a key analyst to downgrade his ratings and slash price targets, and both stocks continued the slump into a second day on Thursday.

  • Why Yandex N.V. Stock Plunged Today
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Why Yandex N.V. Stock Plunged Today

    What happened Shares of Yandex N.V. (NASDAQ: YNDX) dropped 17.8% on Thursday following reports that Russia's state-owned Sberbank may take a controlling stake in the country's leading internet search company. More specifically, according to sources speaking

  • Palo Alto Networks Stock Upgraded: What You Need to Know
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Palo Alto Networks Stock Upgraded: What You Need to Know

    Cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks (NYSE: PANW) won a big upgrade today when analysts at R.W. Baird announced they're assuming coverage of the stock and raising their price target to $250 a share. If they're right about that, Palo Alto Networks is worth more than 23% more than it currently costs. Many companies offer cybersecurity services, but which one is the best to invest in?

  • Business
    CNBC

    Trump-approved boycott appears to be hitting Harley-Davidson amid rising trade-ins for rival Indian brand

    Harley-Davidson sales continue to falter after a rough first half in which it lost share to Indian, its main U.S.-based competitor, according to BMO Capital Markets. Harley engaged in a public spat with Trump a few months ago when it said it was shifting some production overseas in response to retaliatory tariffs from abroad. "It should be disconcerting to HOG investors that most Indian dealers we speak with are seeing an uptick in Harley trade-ins for whatever the reason may be," BMO says.

  • Don't Be Fooled -- Intuitive Surgical Had Another Huge Quarter
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Don't Be Fooled -- Intuitive Surgical Had Another Huge Quarter

    One look at the headline numbers might have had Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ: ISRG) investors worried. Revenue grew a modest 14%, but earnings were only up 2%? This is, after all, a company that trades for over 50 times earnings.  But worry not. The devil

  • Why This Hedge Fund Manager Loves PayPal
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Why This Hedge Fund Manager Loves PayPal

    One of the biggest hedge fund managers is Dan Loeb, manager of the sometimes-activist Third Point Capital. Third Point's Offshore Fund has returned an impressive 15.1% annualized vs. 8.1% for the S&P 500 since 1996. When a manager like Loeb makes a large bet, it's probably a good idea to listen.

  • The only positive in autos is Tesla, says Jim Cramer
    F
    CNBC Videos

    The only positive in autos is Tesla, says Jim Cramer

    CNBC's 'Squawk on the Street' discusses Tesla after Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the low-cost Model 3 vehicle.

  • Is CenturyLink, Inc. a Buy?
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Is CenturyLink, Inc. a Buy?

    Legacy landline telecom CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) gets plenty of grief. And understandably so, considering that its legacy business, copper wire landline and internet connections is a steadily declining business while fiber and wireless technologies

  • What’s Pfizer’s Current Valuation?
    Finance
    Market Realist

    What’s Pfizer’s Current Valuation?

    Pfizer's Stock Performance and Estimates in October (Continued from Prior Part) Pfizer’s valuation In this part, we’ll compare Pfizer’s (PFE) valuation with its peers including Merck (MRK), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Eli Lilly (LLY), and Bristol-Myers

  • Business
    Motley Fool

    Why IBM’s Brief Growth Streak Just Stalled

    Unfortunately for its shareholders, there was a speed bump on the road to rebound last quarter: The company reported this week that revenue shrank, and growth in its vital "strategic imperatives" businesses slowed. Seriously, when IBM's legacy mainframe business is the strongest performer in a given quarter, one has to see that as a problem.

  • 5 U.S. Marijuana Stocks to Buy Before the Market Lights Up
    Finance
    InvestorPlace

    5 U.S. Marijuana Stocks to Buy Before the Market Lights Up

    As such, the full range of recreational products offered by Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY), Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC) and their peers can now be sold throughout Canada. One question for American investors is how that affects U.S. marijuana stocks? What happened in Canada changes little in the U.S. The federal ban on marijuana remains in place.

  • Why Activision Blizzard, United Rentals, and Gap Slumped Today
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Why Activision Blizzard, United Rentals, and Gap Slumped Today

    The stock market had a tough session on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average finishing down over 300 points. Investors continued to worry about rising interest rates in the U.S., but they also turned their attention to the global macroeconomic picture, where new concerns about the prospects for growth in areas like Europe and China weighed on sentiment. Company-specific news hurt certain stocks, and Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), United Rentals (NYSE: URI), and Gap (NYSE: GPS) were among the worst performers on the day.

  • Caterpillar, Boeing Sell Off After Honeywell's Tariff Pessimism
    Business
    Bloomberg

    Caterpillar, Boeing Sell Off After Honeywell's Tariff Pessimism

    The company’s executives are bracing for “hundreds of millions of dollars” in earnings pressure next year from the expanded tariff lists. Caterpillar and Boeing dropped more than 1 percent while the Dow rose 0.5 percent.

  • Love Dividends? 3 Stocks You Might Want to Buy
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Love Dividends? 3 Stocks You Might Want to Buy

    It's even better when you know that the dividend is a big one! You'll get more of those good feelings if you add high-yielding Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P. (NYSE: MMP), General Mills, Inc. (NYSE: GIS), and Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. (NYSE: SKT) to your income portfolio. It has also been reworking older brands, notably with new yogurt and ice cream products.

  • Marijuana investors may lose 90% of their money in Canada, so consider the really big prize elsewhere
    News
    MarketWatch

    Marijuana investors may lose 90% of their money in Canada, so consider the really big prize elsewhere

    Marijuana presents a tremendous opportunity for investors over the next few years. Naïve investors are excited. The reality is that professionals will pick their pockets, and many naïve investors who are excited now will end up losing 90% of their investment.

  • Kinder Morgan Inc.’s CEO Outlines a 4-Step Plan for a Brighter Tomorrow
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Kinder Morgan Inc.’s CEO Outlines a 4-Step Plan for a Brighter Tomorrow

    Kinder Morgan (NYSE: KMI) recently completed a "momentous" quarter according to CEO Steve Kean. Not only did the pipeline giant's financial results beat its expectations, but it was a pivotal quarter on a strategic front, because the company closed the sale of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and locked up another new growth project. Complete the distribution of the Trans Mountain proceeds and continue our discussions on turning the positive indications that we now have from all three rating agencies into positive ratings actions.