CHICAGO, Dec. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT), Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M), Kohl's Corporation (NYSE: KSS), Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN), Limited Brands Inc. (NYSE: LTD).
Get the most recent insight from Zacks Equity Research with the free Profit from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5513
Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:
Is Holiday Season Set to Lose Momentum?
Nothing concrete can be said about the outcome of the holiday season at this present juncture. It is a wait-and-watch game to find out if retailers will be rewarded, or if they fall weak against the negative consumer sentiment largely due to the looming "Fiscal Cliff". However, the latest data unveiled by ShopperTrak hints at a slower growth forecast than previously expected.
The Chicago-based retail analysis firm now projects holiday sales for November and December period to rise 2.5%, down from 3.3% increase previously forecasted in September 2012. The current estimate also fares unfavorably with 3.7% growth achieved in the prior-year holiday season.
The retail foot traffic data provider, ShopperTrak trimmed its holiday sales forecasts blaming the huge discounts offered by retailers to entice consumers, and the adverse impact of Hurricane Sandy that derailed November comparable-store sales.
However, on the positive front, ShopperTrak reiterated that foot traffic in this holiday season will rise 2.8% compared with 2011, which experienced a 2.2% decline in foot traffic from 2010. If the estimate is true, this will be the first increase in foot traffic during the holiday season since 2008, when the economy slumped to recession.
ShopperTrak also revealed that foot traffic jumped 15.1% and retail sales surged 16.4% for the week ending December 15, when compared with the previous week. However, comparing with the prior-year period, foot traffic and retail sales dropped 4.4% and 4.3%, respectively, for the week ending December 15. ShopperTrak also suggested that the week ending on December 22 may witness the highest sales volume in 2012.
Thus, we need to wait to find out how the total December sales turn up; i.e., whether it fares better than November or succumb to the current economic upheaval. According to the data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, total retail and food services sales jumped 0.3% in November, rebounding from a decline of an equivalent percentage in October. (Also Read: Will December Mirror November Sales?)
Analysts are anticipating sluggish economic growth as companies seem reluctant to make any prudent investments until a negotiation regarding the Fiscal Cliff issue is reached between the Republicans and Democrats before the onset of 2013. The austerity measures and fear of impending tax hike are creating some panic among consumers. In recent days, the Street's mood doesn't seem much optimistic as investors remain apprehensive about the failure on the part of policy makers to reach a consensus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) shed 0.7% to close at 13,251.97 on December 19. The S&P 500 dropped 0.8% to end the day at 1,435.81, whereas the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.3% to close at 3,044.36.
Sensing the pulse, retailers such as Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT), Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M), Kohl's Corporation (NYSE: KSS), Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN), Limited Brands Inc. (NYSE: LTD) and others will be actively making efforts to win the hearts of bargain hunters. Despite the lingering economic concerns, we hope the arrival of Christmas will guide demand higher and ease consumers' apprehension.
Want more from Zacks Equity Research? Subscribe to the free Profit from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5515.
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.
Zacks "Profit from the Pros" e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Subscribe to this free newsletter today: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5517
Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Leon Zacks. As a PhD from MIT Len knew he could find patterns in stock market data that would lead to superior investment results. Amongst his many accomplishments was the formation of his proprietary stock picking system; the Zacks Rank, which continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros. In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros at http://at.zacks.com/?id=5518.
Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/zacksresearch
Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Zacks-Investment-Research/57553657748?ref=ts
Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.
Zacks Investment Research
800-767-3771 ext. 9339
SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.