NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 08/23/12 -- The S&P 500 Index reached a four-year high Tuesday on renewed optimism that European leaders are making progress with their region's current debt crisis. "The odds have increased that the Europeans will craft some kind of devil's bargain," said the chairman of Marketfield Asset Management, Michael Shaoul, in a recent Bloomberg Television interview. "At the same time that that's going on, U.S. economic data's been a lot better." Five Star Equities examines the outlook for companies in the S&P 500 Index and provides equity research on Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) and Urban Outfitters, Inc. (NASDAQ: URBN).
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After six consecutive weekly gains the S&P 500 Index reached 1,426.68 in Tuesday trading, the highest level seen since May 2008. The index has rallied approximately 12 percent since hitting a five-month low in June. Despite having the worst earnings growth since 2009, roughly 72 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported profits that beat analysts' expectations.
"Stocks have been a pretty strong story," Omar Aguilar, chief investment officer of equities at Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc., said in a telephone interview. "It's very consistent to the cycle that we've seen since 2009. It's been driven by accommodative policy, strong corporate profits and a stable economy. There's a lot of political will in Europe to maintain the stability in the region."
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Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch surged last Wednesday after the clothing retailer reported its second quarter 2012 results. The company reported diluted earnings per share for the quarter of $0.19, $0.01 cent higher than their previous guidance. The company's Board of Directors increased the existing share repurchase authorization by 10 million shares to 22.9 million.
Urban Outfitters is a lifestyle specialty retail company, which operates under the Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain and BHLDN brands. Shares of the company soared over 18 percent Tuesday after reported second quarter results that exceeded expectations. Earnings per diluted share were $0.42 a twenty percent increase over the year-ago quarter.
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