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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: American Eagle Outfitters, Express, BJ's Restaurants, Darden Restaurants and Burlington Stores

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – April 15, 2016 – 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 American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (AEO), Express Inc. (EXPR), BJ's Restaurants, Inc. (BJRI), Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI) and Burlington Stores, Inc. ( BURL).

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

Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

Worried About Dismal Retail Sales? Buy These 5 Stocks

Still cheap gasoline and a better job picture failed to perk up March retail sales, leaving investors perplexed and their portfolios in the lurch. Even increased consumer confidence was not enough to charge up the retail space. So what really happened? Let’s delve deeper.

Data compiled by the Commerce Department unveiled that retail sales fell 0.3% last month to $446.9 billion as households remained reluctant about purchasing cars. Auto sales, which constitute almost 20% of total retail sales, declined 2.1% in March. Analysts had anticipated retail sales growth of 0.1%. On the other hand, retail sales for February were revised to flat from the initial reading of a 0.1% fall. Sales in January had slid 0.4%.

Just when investors thought their roller-coaster ride was about to end, the subdued retail sales data sounded the alarm again. Retailers witnessed an unexpected drop in sales in the month of March, clearly indicating that consumers are exercising caution when it comes to spending. Experts cited that consumer spending, which has yet to pick up steam, might prove to be a hurdle in the path of economic growth, which expanded 1.4% during the fourth quarter of 2015.

Global economic headwinds, yet-to-recover Chinese economy, muted growth in the Euro zone and fluctuating commodity prices are keeping even stoic investors on tenterhooks, and the recent disappointing retail sales data further cast the cloud of uncertainty. Undoubtedly, the Federal Reserve’s Chairwoman, Janet Yellen’s wait-and-watch policy is the need of the hour and she will factor in recent economic events before considering the next rate hike, which now appears remote, as perceived by market pundits.

Well, now there are two choices in front of you; either be a mute spectator and wait for a convincing economic environment, or be a front-runner and winner by identifying stocks that have the potential to outperform even when market conditions are not congenial.

5 Prominent Picks

It is quite apparent that the market has witnessed a slew of events, and to fetch higher returns amid such an investment climate is a difficult task. Here Zacks’ formula of a profitable mix comes into play, helping investors to identify stocks that have the potential to be market winners.

We have identified 5 Retail-Wholesale Stocks based on their favorable Zacks Rank – Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or #2 (Buy) + VGM Score of “A” based on Zacks’ new Style Score System. A stock with such a combination has incredible potential in the near term.

American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (AEO), retailer of apparel and accessories, is a solid bet, with a Zacks Rank #1 and a VGM Score of “A.” The Pittsburgh, PA-based company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 15.8% over the trailing four quarters, and has a long-term earnings growth rate of 10%. The company is expected to witness earnings growth of 12.8% in fiscal 2016 and 9.3% in fiscal 2017. The Zacks Consensus Estimate too has been trending up over the past 60 days.

We also suggest investing in Express Inc. (EXPR), with a Zacks Rank #1, long-term earnings growth rate of 15% and a VGM Score of “A.” This Columbus, OH-based specialty apparel and accessories retailer delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 33.5% over the trailing four quarters. It is expected to witness earnings growth of 16.6% in fiscal 2016 and 9.1% in fiscal 2017. The Zacks Consensus Estimate too has been on the rise over the past 60 days.

Investors can also count on BJ's Restaurants, Inc. (BJRI), the operator of casual dining restaurants that carries a Zacks Rank #2 with a long-term earnings growth rate of 18.3%. This Huntington Beach, CA-based company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 21.3% over the trailing four quarters and has a VGM Score of “A.” The company is expected to witness earnings growth of 18.4% in 2016 and 14.2% in 2017. The Zacks Consensus Estimate too has trended upward over the past 60 days.

Another stock that looks promising is Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI), operator of full-service restaurants. The stock flaunts a Zacks Rank #1 with a long-term earnings growth rate of 14.2%. This Orlando, FL-based company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 15.7% over the trailing four quarters and has a VGM Score of “A.” The company is expected to witness earnings growth of 33.5% in fiscal 2016 and 12.8% in fiscal 2017. The Zacks Consensus Estimate has also moved higher over the past 30 days.

Last but not least is Burlington Stores, Inc. (BURL), with a Zacks Rank #2, long-term earnings growth rate of 16.3% and a VGM Score of “A.” This Burlington, NJ-based company, which operates as a national chain of off-price retail stores, delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 19.1% over the trailing four quarters. It is expected to witness solid earnings growth of 18% in fiscal 2016 and 17.7% in fiscal 2017. The Zacks Consensus Estimate too has been on the rise over the past 60 days.

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AMER EAGLE OUTF (AEO): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
EXPRESS INC (EXPR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
BJ'S RESTAURANT (BJRI): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
DARDEN RESTRNT (DRI): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
BURLINGTON STRS (BURL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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